iPhone’s transition to OLED displays won’t be complete until 2020

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iPhone X home screen
Another rumor is all but confirmed.
Photo: Apple

Apple’s more affordable iPhone models with LCD displays will remain its best-selling devices with the transition to OLED technology slower than expected.

A new report claims Apple will continue to offer an iPhone with an LCD in 2019 and beyond. One analyst warns that the iPhone lineup won’t switch to OLED displays entirely until 2020 at the earliest.

OLED displays are considered to be far superior to LCD displays in almost every way — especially for mobile devices. They’re brighter and more color accurate, yet they don’t need as much power.

iPhone fans had been calling for Apple to adopt OLED technology for years before it finally delivered the iPhone X, its first smartphone with an OLED screen. Now we’re waiting for the entire iPhone lineup to get the same update.

Apple won’t rush OLED switch

There is one rather large problem with OLED displays, however. They’re significantly more expensive than LCD options. The screen inside the iPhone X is its most expensive component at roughly $100 apiece. A comparable LCD display would cost around $40.

In order to offer a more affordable iPhone, then, Apple must keep using LCD displays for the foreseeable future. It is expected to introduce a 6.1-inch LCD model this fall, alongside a refreshed 5.8-inch iPhone X and a larger 6.5-inch iPhone X Plus.

It will continue to offer an LCD option in 2019, one analyst says. Display Supply Chain Consultants co-founder Yoshio Tamura told The Wall Street Journal that a complete switch to OLED displays won’t happen until 2020 at the earliest.

LCD iPhone will be most popular

Despite the recent success of iPhone X, which was Apple’s best-selling smartphone during a three-month period ending in March 2018, future LCD models are expected to sell more than their more expensive siblings.

Apple expects its LCD models to “make up the majority of iPhone sales in its lineup to be released this fall,” WSJ adds. This could limit Apple’s ability to increase average iPhone selling prices in 2019, which investors will be surely keeping a close eye on.