The first rumors of an iPhone with a curved OLED display have been swirling for some time. Now a Wall Street Journal report has lent further credence to the claim that the iPhone 8 will feature a significantly different screen.
The article states that a bezel-less iPhone 8 with an OLED display is one of ten different prototypes that Apple is currently testing, meaning there’s a chance it will be scrapped before it ever hits store shelves. It also corroborates KGI Securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo’s announcement that multiple models of the next-gen flagships will go on sale next year.
According to the Journal, Apple’s suppliers have received orders to “increase output of thinner organic light emitting displays and submit prototype displays with better resolutions than ones from Samsung to differentiate its models.” BGR casts some doubt on that explanation, noting that Apple has stuck with low-res displays in the past because pixel count doesn’t matter as much with smaller screen sizes. Instead, it suggests that Apple is experimenting with 4K displays due to “interest surrounding virtual reality applications.”
Ironically, it is believed that Samsung will be supplying the vast majority of Apple’s displays, with other manufacturers such as LG and Sharp supplementing orders. Apple has reportedly pushed these other suppliers to ramp up their OLED production capabilities, which will require significant investment on their part. The Journal states that Sharp, for example, will need to fork over more than $5 billion to acquire the technology and capacity to meet Apple’s demand.
“We don’t know whether Apple’s OLED iPhones will be a hit, but if Apple doesn’t walk down this path and transform itself, there will be no innovation,” Sharp CEO Tai Jeng-wu said, according to Business Insider. “It is a crisis but it is also an opportunity.”
In any case, if it debuts, the curved OLED display would mark a significant departure from the traditional iPhone’s form, which has remained unchanged for years.