You’ll have to wait until 2020 before iPhones go all-in on OLED

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The iPhone XS Max screen delivers more of that OLED awesomeness.
Currently, two out of three of Apple's new iPhones are OLED.
Photo: Ste Smith/Cult of Mac

Apple likely will keep an iPhone with an LCD screen hanging around for one more year.

According to a new report, this year’s iPhone refresh will keep the same approximate model breakdown as last year’s iPhone XR, iPhone XS and XS Max. That means 5.8- and 6.5-inch OLED iPhones, with a cheaper 6.1-inch LCD handset in the middle.

What happens in 2020?

The report, which cites sources in the supply chain, suggests that Apple will switch to an all-OLED product line in 2020. These will reportedly include 5.42-, 6.06- and 6.67-inch handsets. If the rumor proves accurate, the slightly different display sizes from current iPhones would suggest a redesign.

Digitimes predicts that the smallest of the 2020 iPhones will use either Samsung Display’s Y-Octa or LG Display’s TOE touch technology. This is a way of making the display thinner while also trimming costs.

If things go this way, that could mean a big change from the current iPhone lineup. Instead of the middle-size iPhone being the most affordable, in 2020 the smallest iPhone would be the entry-level model.

The report goes on to add that:

“Judging from technology ability, Samsung Display is likely to remain the primary OLED panel supplier of Apple in 2020, and it remains to be seen whether LG Display or BOE Technology can obtain OLED panel orders from Apple, the sources said.”

It concludes by suggesting that Apple is likely to ship between 180 million and 190 million iPhones in 2019 as a whole. While shipments aren’t necessarily the same as sales (although Apple is generally good at forecasting), this sounds like it could be another year-on-year decline in overall iPhone business.