[THE INVESTOR] Still undecided on the detailed specifications of some hardware and design features, US tech giant Apple has postponed the unveiling of the iPhone 8 fitted with an OLED screen to November, while the LCD-equipped iPhone 7s and 7s Plus will likely debut in September as planned, industry sources said on Aug. 10.
Samsung to step up OLED production for Apple this month
Apple picks LG Display as OLED supplier
LG Display keeps mum on Apple’s OLED investment
Samsung to produce chips for Apple’s new iPhone next year
“Apple’s top brass recently approved the September launch of two LCD models, but the OLED iPhone launch is likely to be delayed to November,” an official from a Korean supplier told The Investor on condition of anonymity.
The official added the relocation of the fingerprint sensor, among other things, seems to be a sticking point for the first OLED iPhone.
The OLED iPhone has been widely rumored to feature on-screen fingerprint scanning that would remove the physical home button on the bottom of the device and allow more room for a larger-than-ever display screen.
But sources said Apple may have ditched the plan recently due to technical glitches like its archrival Samsung Electronics did for the current Galaxy S8. The Korean company also failed to embed a fingerprint scanner into the front screen and placed the sensor on the back of the device.
“The iPhone’s rear design has not yet been finalized. We are still awaiting Apple’s final decision before shipping parts,” he said, hinting that the phone is also likely to have a fingerprint scanner on the back.
“Fingerprint scanning, which plays a crucial role in safeguarding payment solution Apple Pay, needs to be fault-free. Apple seems to have failed to fully develop the technology for the upcoming iPhone,” said a local display expert who wished to be unnamed.
Apple’s decision to ditch the on-screen fingerprint sensor is also affecting the production schedule of suppliers.
Samsung Display, the sole display supplier for the OLED iPhone, had initially planned to start production for Apple in the first half of this year but had put off the schedule to July due to the delayed decision.
Sources called the schedule adjustment “unusual” for Samsung with just a few months left before the phone launch.
The display maker started OLED production for the iPhone in a relatively small capacity last month.
“The fact that Samsung’s manufacturing lines are not running at full capacity at the moment hints at the delay of the OLED iPhone launch,” said another source declining to be named.
In the meantime, suppliers for the two LCD iPhones started shipping parts from June and have been ramping up shipments since July. The LCD models are expected to have an edge-to-edge screen that wraps around the side. LG Display is the key supplier.
By Kim Young-won (firstname.lastname@example.org)