WSJ: Apple's switch to OLED has been greatly exaggerated because... price


Uh oh, the grand migration from LCD to OLEDs at Apple has been postponed to a later date, report the Wall Street Journal's proverbial "supply chain sources," reiterating previous claims on the matter. Not only has an Apple engineer allegedly tipped the publication that Apple can't seem to find clear-cut advantages of OLED before LCDs, but also industry insiders are now claiming that the 2019 iPhone crop will also include a model with LCD screen, just like the one coming this fall.

What happened between "Apple will use OLED on all 2018 phones," and today's report that the move is likely to be postponed for 2020 at the earliest? Well, fairly disappointing sales of the iPhone X, that's what, tip the analysts surveyed in the report. While it was still the top-selling handset worldwide as of Q1 of this year, overall iPhone sales have remained flat, while analysts were predicting that it will lead to a super-cycle of upgrades, and Apple apparently thought so, too. Part of the reason for the high $999 price of Apple's finest is that the display panel is sourced by a single supplier - Samsung- that can gauge Apple's willingness to pay the maximum, and has reportedly been selling the 5.8" OLED screen of the X to it at $100 a pop, compared to $40 for a good LCD screen. 

Given that the display is one of the most expensive parts in a smartphone, Apple will have a tough time fitting its upcoming iPhones in lower price brackets if they all shipped with OLED screens, all the while it might have hit the maximum consumers are willing to pay for an iPhone with the X. Thus, the report claims, Apple is now planning a bigger role for the more affordable LCD iPhone models in its fall lineup, as well as the 2019 crop, than it envisioned just a year ago. 

While Apple may delay its OLED shift for 2020, when it will be able to secure more suppliers for such panels at cheaper price points, analysts expect LCD models to make up the majority of iPhone sales at least for the next two years. This bodes well for those who can't splurge the $799+ that Apple will likely be charging for the OLED models, while people involved in Apple's supply chain now reconfirm that all 2018 models, including the LCD one, will sport the iPhone X notch-y design, "to give consumers who own older devices the feeling of an upgrade." There have been rumors that Apple has issues with fitting the big notch on an LCD display, so that model could ship later than the OLED ones, and if that indeed happens, it could lead to sufficient sales of the higher-end iPhones this year, before the more affordable option is introduced.

source: WSJ

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24 Comments

1. dubaiboy78

Posts: 442; Member since: Sep 19, 2014

Whatever PhoneArena!!!

9. bucknassty

Posts: 1325; Member since: Mar 24, 2017

"While it was still the top-selling handset worldwide as of Q1 of this year, overall iPhone sales have remained flat" Amazing how you can be number 1 and still come up empty... interesting

17. andrewc31394

Posts: 290; Member since: Jun 23, 2012

just because sales weren't record breaking doesn't mean they came up empty. just means the figures were nothing to write home about

19. bucknassty

Posts: 1325; Member since: Mar 24, 2017

understood. but why do they expect record breaking each year??? that can't be maintained....

20. Finalflash

Posts: 4063; Member since: Jul 23, 2013

Because otherwise it only means one thing, declining sales. And for the iPhone company, declining iPhone sales will actually signal the death of Apple.

13. Klinton

Posts: 1408; Member since: Oct 24, 2016

Yup! 'Apple's switch to OLED has been greatly exaggerated because... price' Must be: Apple's switch to OLED has been greatly exaggerated because... profit

2. sun0066

Posts: 266; Member since: Feb 12, 2011

apple always find an excuse to charge you more and sell you more of the same

3. RevolutionA

Posts: 392; Member since: Sep 30, 2017

Never! It's Samsung which is playing Monopoly gimmicks, trying to stop Apple from innovations. Shame on you Samsung. They failed in court and now they're trying to pull money from poor Apple.

4. TheOracle1

Posts: 2215; Member since: May 04, 2015

I agree 100%! Same way I agree with alien abductions and Ted Cuz's dad killed JFK.

10. maherk

Posts: 6774; Member since: Feb 10, 2012

Here's a simpler solution, Apple making their own OLED panels instead of buying them? And speaking about monopoly, do you think Apple would have let any other brand to rock an OLED panel if they patented it?

14. RevolutionA

Posts: 392; Member since: Sep 30, 2017

People are just jealous of Apple.

16. maherk

Posts: 6774; Member since: Feb 10, 2012

Wow, what a strong argument! I'm completely convinced now.

21. Leo_MC

Posts: 7216; Member since: Dec 02, 2011

They should also build their own factories and mine for rare elements to make component parts? What you're saying is economically inefficient.

5. NinoH

Posts: 131; Member since: Feb 09, 2018

OLED is great, but not worth the hype it’s been sucked in, basicly a good enough LCD will do just fine for the next iphone.

6. cmdacos

Posts: 4110; Member since: Nov 01, 2016

Subjective of course. I will never go back to the archaic LCD tech as OLED is so much better in every way.

22. Leo_MC

Posts: 7216; Member since: Dec 02, 2011

It's very objective. There is no noteworthy difference between the 2 technologies.

7. apple-rulz

Posts: 2026; Member since: Dec 27, 2016

It’s not the price it’s the ugly notch and those unintuitive gestures made necessary by lack of a home button. A fingerprint scanner would have been nice to have as an option too, but at the very least get rid of the notch.

12. worldpeace

Posts: 3129; Member since: Apr 15, 2016

^This... And it's come from the legendary "apple-rulz" who already got enlightenment..

8. Romantico3pe

Posts: 179; Member since: Sep 14, 2015

Lcd just works and wont burn in, not worth switching to oled

11. tedkord

Posts: 17312; Member since: Jun 17, 2009

Apple can't find advantages of OLED over LCD? What about they had (until the S9) the best rated display on a phone with the iPhone X for the first time since the Note 4 dropped? That's not an advantage?

15. Humanoid

Posts: 1226; Member since: Dec 11, 2017

Displaymate = galaxy x iphone Where are other brands?

23. Leo_MC

Posts: 7216; Member since: Dec 02, 2011

The best rated display (according to displaymate) was also iPhone 7's LCD.

18. Law123

Posts: 2; Member since: Jun 15, 2018

I think the main reason why the iPhone x hasn't sold like apple wanted is because of the size.. had they come out with the plus model of the X last year instead of the iPhone 8 plus sales would be where they wanted them to be.

24. midan

Posts: 2722; Member since: Oct 09, 2017

iPhone sales are spreading over many iPhones, they couldn't know how many wants iPhone X or 8 or 8+ or 7 etc. Overall iPhone sales are doing very well and X is best selling model.

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