Analyst: Blame Samsung for iPhone 8’s high price tag

By

iPhone 7
Switching to OLED won't be cheap.
Photo: Ste Smith/Cult of Mac

Apple’s upcoming premium iPhone is likely to be its most expensive model ever — and Samsung is partly to blame, according to a reliable Apple analyst.

In his latest research note, KGI Securities analyst Ming Chi-Kuo explains to investors that Samsung currently holds a practical monopoly on the supply of OLED displays. The company is likely charging Apple a huge amount of money to make the switch from LCD modules to OLED. Apple fans probably won’t be happy with the final price tag.

Apple previously paid between $45 and $55 for the screens on Plus-size iPhones. But Kuo claims Samsung is probably charging about $75 more for OLED displays. The final price for the displays likely costs Apple $120 to $130 per unit. That could explain why rumors predict the iPhone 8 (or iPhone Edition) will start out at $1,000.

The problem with OLED

Apple needs to find a secondary supplier for OLED screens. Locating one won’t be easy, because nobody can currently handle Apple’s production and quality needs.

The move to OLED screens is causing other headaches for Apple, too, Kuo told investors. Apple will likely scrap Touch ID from the new iPhone. The reason? No good solution exists for embedding it into the display.

“We believe 3D Touch module could be unfavorable for scan-through performance of under-display fingerprint recognition, which is one of the main reasons why OLED iPhone may abandon fingerprint recognition,” Kuo said, in the note obtained by AppleInsider.

Apple will unveil the iPhone 8 at an event at the Steve Jobs Theater in Cupertino, California, next week. New features are expected to include inductive charging, an edge-to-edge OLED display, facial scanning, 3D sensors, an A11 processor, improved cameras and much more.