Samsung has signed a deal with Apple to make 160 million OLED panels for the company’s next-generation iPhone, according to the Korea Herald. The iPhone 8 will likely debut in the fall with an OLED screen and Apple needs all the panels it can get for its new flagship phone.
The iPhone 8 is expected to distance itself from the iPhone 7 with a radical new all-glass design, an OLED screen between 5.2-5.8 inches, wireless charging. Rumors indicate the phone will have almost no bezels with the Touch ID home button somehow integrated into the screen.
In 2016, Apple and Samsung had already agreed a 100 million unit deal. According to this latest report, the company has extended its manufacturing agreement and now wants Samsung to provide 160 million panels. A timeframe for the delivery is not specified in the report, unfortunately.
Apple is expected to launch the (colloquially dubbed) iPhone 8 in the fall, on the iPhone’s usual yearly refresh cycle. However, anticipation for the new phone is higher than ever as it is expected to be a major upgrade in both features and appearance, following three years of the same iPhone industrial design.
With supposedly no bezels on the front of the phone, the Touch ID Home Button will be integrated into the screen. Other details about Apple’s 2017 phone remain unclear, like where the front-facing speaker will be relocated if it is true there is no top bezel. Some reports have indicated that as well being bezel-less, the OLED display may in fact wrap around the iPhone 8 curved sides similar to the Galaxy S7 Edge.
This wraparound means that although the screen panel is 5.8 inches, some of that area will not be an active touchscreen. Combined with the removal of bezels, the new iPhone 8 will be closer to the current 4.7 inch iPhone in physical size even with a substantial increase in screen size.
In addition to the OLED iPhone 8, Apple is also reportedly introducing two iterative phones as well. These devices will continue to use LCD displays and largely resemble the current iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus aesthetically, featuring upgraded internal components and — maybe — wireless charging capabilities.
As it seems the flagship OLED iPhone 8 will be priced upwards of $1000, it makes sense for Apple to introduce less-radical phones as well that can maintain the usual price points.
Right now, Apple uses OLED screens for the Apple Watch and MacBook Pro Touch Bar. The sheer volume of iPhone sales will easily dwarf Apple’s current demand for OLED, of course.
When the iPhone 8 debuts in the September 2017 timeframe, it seems Samsung will be the sole supplier of the OLED screens. Apple will reportedly be adding LG Display into the supply chain from next year, to diversify sourcing of the panels.