Analysts cast doubt on iPhone 8 supercycle

While many analysts have predicted a supercycle for the iPhone 8, there have been a handful of reports recently giving more weight to a possible delay as Apple is reportedly in ‘panic mode’ in regards to wireless charging and 3D features in addition to other component challenges. The latest report from Barclays analysts suggests that a new bezel-less OLED display won’t be enough to convince many users to upgrade.

AirPods

If the latest reports happen to be correct and Apple misses the boat on bringing wireless charging, new 3D tech, and/or in-screen Touch ID to the iPhone 8, the headline feature could be the new OLED display.

This display is rumored to offer the highest screen to body ratio in the industry. However, Mark Moskowitz and others at Barclays doubt that the OLED display will persuade many consumers to upgrade to the latest, and likely most expensive iPhone to date.

In terms of the year ahead, OLED displays continue to be top-of-mind for investors when contemplating form factor improvements that could drive a growth revival, particularly with the iPhone. With OLED, we struggle to see the incremental benefits visually that would inspire a customer to replace an adequately-performing device. While battery life could improve with OLED, our conversations with industry participants suggest that most consumers will not notice any major “must have” experience changes because of new OLED displays versus LCD. We think that this dynamic, if sustained, could limit the upside potential related to new OLED-based devices that likely sell for a premium, which could keep average selling prices from moving much higher.

If Moskowitz and company’s predictions come true Apple could see more customers opt for the less expensive and modestly upgraded iPhone 7s and 7s Plus devices, or possibly hold on to their current iPhone for another year.


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