This year may be the last we see of an iPhone with an LCD screen, if new reports of Apple’s plans for its 2020 iPhone lineup are to be believed. We’ve already seen rumours earlier this year that Apple is planning to go all-in on OLED next year, and now a new report from Digitimes is confirming this along with some new details of what the 2020 iPhones may actually look like.
According to the report, Apple will be continuing its three-tier strategy for next year’s iPhones, so despite the potential elimination of LCD technology, it seems that we may still see a successor to the iPhone XR. Digitimes offers up three oddly-specific sizes of 5.42 inches, 6.06 inches, and 6.67 inches, representing a departure from the current 5.8-inch iPhone XS, 6.1-inch iPhone XR, and 6.46-inch iPhone XS Max, and suggesting that some significant design changes may be in store for next year.
The 6.06-inch model would likely come in at the same size as the iPhone XR, and in fact is actually the precise measurement of the current display — Apple merely rounds the numbers up to the nearest tenth of an inch.
However, the other two sizes would suggest a smaller version of the iPhone XS, and a larger version of the iPhone XS Max. While it’s not entirely clear, since Digitimes gets its information from supply chain sources, it’s likely reporting the sizes of the screens that will be used, rather than the physical size of the final, assembled iPhone models, so depending on how Apple handles the overall hardware design, it’s possible that actual iPhone sizes may not change significantly from the current line-up. It’s also worth noting that Digitimes makes no mention of the aspect ratios that would be used for these screens; for example, the 5.8-inch screen on the 2017 iPhone X was actually slightly smaller than the 5.5-inch screen on the iPhone 8 Plus, due to different aspect ratios.
One other interesting point that Digitimes adds is that Apple is considering going with new touchscreen technology — either Samsung Display’s Y-Octa or LG Display’s TOE touch technology — that could help the company reduce the display costs that make up the bulk of the premium price tag that Apple’s OLED iPhones carry. Samsung’s Y-Octa, which is a flexible AMOLED design, would also help Apple to make the display even thinner in the 2020 iPhone models. Digitimes notes that based on the capabilities of display suppliers at this point, Samsung Display will likely continue to be Apple’s primary OLED supplier next year.
Little else is known about Apple’s plans for its 2020 iPhone lineup at this point, although there have been several reports that Apple is working toward releasing its first 5G iPhone next year, although it remains uncertain whether the company will be able to pull it off.
Digitimes’ report also confirms earlier rumours that this year’s iPhone lineup will follow in the footsteps of the 2018 iPhone XS and XR models, with two higher-end models OLED models and a 6.1-inch model equipped with Apple’s Liquid Retina Display; since Apple spent considerable engineering resources in developing a new groundbreaking LCD display for the iPhone XR, it seems reasonable that the company will want to get as much out of the technology as possible. At least some of this year’s iPhones are expected to feature triple-lens cameras and indoor navigation along with the ability to act as wireless chargers.