Supply chain says LCD iPhone gets top billing over OLED

With recent developments affecting the timeline of when the most affordable of three iPhones is set to launch this year, supply chain sources have reminded us of what’s at stake: the majority of iPhone sales for Apple.

They’ve told The Wall Street Journal that out of two models bearing vibrant and costly OLED displays and another featuring an LCD, the latter will be getting the largest share of production. The main reason? Pricing.

While Apple has been proud to say that the iPhone X was the top-selling single iPhone model for the company, it did not ring up as many purchases as analysts had been expecting. Most point to the $999 starting price tag as the biggest barrier for prospective customers — a lot of the bill of materials went to the OLED screen sourced from Samsung Display, which, at $100, costs 150 percent more than an LCD on the iPhone 8. Yield issues are to blame — the unique design of the iPhone X, which is said to be copied onto all three new iPhones this year, has given manufacturers some difficulty, even on the LCD side.

Tellingly, one Apple source told the Journal that, in the publication’s words, “the company has yet to find a clear advantage for OLEDs over LCDs.”

The company may be mindful of upgrading more of its customers as it can, even if focusing on the upcoming LCD model may lower average sales prices for the next year. In fact, if costs continue to hold where they are, we may see Apple include a premium LCD iPhone in its 2019 releases, meaning that OLEDs won’t be taking over the series until at least 2020.

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About The Author
Jules Wang
Jules Wang is News Editor for Pocketnow and one of the hosts of the Pocketnow Weekly Podcast. He came onto the team in 2014 as an intern editing and producing videos and the podcast while he was studying journalism at Emerson College. He graduated the year after and entered into his current position at Pocketnow, full-time.