Inexpensive LCDs could stay in Apple’s iPhone lineup until 2020

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2018 iPhone compared to 2017 iPhone X
The 6.1-inch iPhone anticipated for this fall apparently won’t be Apple’s last with an LCD screen.
Photo: Jonas Dähnert

LG has reportedly been contracted to create LCD panels for an iPhone model that will be released next year. If true, it means that Apple is definitely planning a phone with a traditional LCD in 2019, and isn’t going to all OLED screens. At least not yet

An earlier unconfirmed report indicated that this fall’s LCD iPhone will be the company’s last. That’s perhaps not surprising. given that OLED displays are superior in several ways

But Apple is sticking with LCD for at least another year. And LG Display won’t just be making panels for already-existing models.  It’s developing an LCD for a new iPhone set to launch in 2019, according to Korean website The Bell.

This is in line with an earlier analyst’s report that said Apple’s transition to OLED will take until at least 2020.

LCD iPhone to OLED iPhone

The iPhone X was Apple’s first with an OLED display, a change wasn’t without problems. At that time, Samsung was the only company capable of meeting Apple’s need for a panel that can fold under at the bottom to create the edge-or-edge design. And Samsung charged quite a bit for this component. 

Apple has reportedly been actively looking for other sources, including China’s BOE Technology, Japan Display, and LG Display.

The iPhone maker is sticking with the technology because each pixel on an OLED glows independently, making a more vivid screen that doesn’t require a backlight.

Two of the three 2018 iPhone models are expected to have OLED screens, and some have wondered how long Apple will still offer LCDs. Especially after a spring rumor that Apple would soon drop the older tech. Apparently, the company is sticking with LCD at least through 2019.

The reason is almost certainly cost. Competition between OLED suppliers can bring the price per panel down, but LCDs will remain a much cheaper option. The one 2018 iPhone with an LCD is expected to cost hundreds less than either of the OLED models.

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