Apple's mysterious 5.4" iPhone 12 Pro will have a top-shelf Samsung display

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So far, the most reputable Apple analyst has already mentioned twice the display diagonals of the first 5G iPhones that are expected to land in 2020. Since his copious supply chain and industry insider connections have rarely taken him for a ride, we can reasonably expect a large 6.7" iPhone 12 Pro model, a smaller 6.1" one, and a teeny-tiny 5.4-incher. Wait, what?

That's right, Ming-Chi Kuo has been predicting Apple's move back to compact phones for a while now, and the latest report in Korean media just came to corroborate his findings. While it was meant to inform which of the two big Korean manufacturer will supply what OLED panel size to Apple for the iPhone 12 series, and whether the touch function will be integrated or layered on, the report tangentially confirmed the exact same screen sizes.

It turns out that the 5.4" iPhone 12 may actually be a Pro model, exactly as predicted by Ming-Chi Kuo, together with the much larger 6.7-inch iPhone 12 Pro Max, or whatever Apple names it. The 6.1" version, on the other hand, has the most chance to end up as the iPhone 12, a direct heir of the entry-level iPhone 11 we have now.

Apple's 5.4" iPhone 12 may indeed be a compact Pro model

Pouring water in that particular rumor mill is the fact that the alleged 5.4" and 6.7" iPhone 12 Pro/Max models will have flexible OLED displays supplied exclusively by Samsung, and with the more expensive integrated touch module that Samsung calls Y-Octa. The 6.1" OLED screen supplies, on the other hand, are said to be shared with LG, and carry an extra touch layer, potentially indicating that they are for a cheaper, less refined model.

So far, Apple has only rarely tested the waters with LG OLED displays, as small and medium sized ones are not the company's strong suit, unlike big TV panels. It has relegated LG to secondary display supply functions for iPhone screen replacements or wearables like the Apple Watch, so it seems logical that the 6.1-incher could be the affordable model with lower screen resolution.

Another fact in indirect support of this theory is that the up-and-coming Chinese OLED makers from BOE have also been in the running for the 6.1" iPhone 12's OLED display, but have so far demonstrated poor yields with sufficient quality, tip insiders, so Apple may only be left with the Samsung and LG sources. 

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LG, however, had a breakthrough recently, managing to raise quality yields enough to ship some 6.7" OLED screens for the iPhone 11 Pro Max. Those still won't be enough for the tens of millions of units that an eventual 6.1" iPhone 12 will likely have to ship in, so we'd still bet that LG will be supplying screens for the cheapest fall 2020 model.

Now, what would that 5.4" iPhone 12 Pro look like? Unlike the other two, this is a brand new screen diagonal for Apple, and one that is likely to result in a very, very compact handset, something that Apple aficionados have been clamoring for since the days of the iPhone SE. Granted, last year Apple kept the 4.7" iPhone 8 as an option, but it is getting way long in the tooth now, and doesn't have all the modern bells and whistles.

A 5.4-incher with the brand new iPhone 12 design will likely be just as small as the iPhone 8, and still carry all the A14 power that Apple can offer next year, and maybe a 5G option to boot. Barring a very high price tag, that may indeed turn out to be the stealth hit for Apple next year, but we'll have to wait some more before the first leaked render hit the tape. The iPhone 12 series is rumored to have a steel-and-glass body with flat sides reminiscent of the iPhone 4, so it's going to be back to the future for all next year, it seems.

For an even smaller model, look no further than the rumored most affordable 2020 iPhone - an SE successor - that is said to land in the spring. This way Apple will have iPhones for every taste and palm next year, sprinkled with three 5G versions on top. What do you think about Apple's expected 2020 roster?

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