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iPhone 9: Apple ropes in LG as OLED supplier to lessen reliance on Samsung

APPLE HAS REPORTEDLY roped in LG to supply OLED screens for its 2018 iPhones in a bid to lessen its reliance on Samsung.

The South China Morning Post reports that LG Display will initially supply Apple with between 2 and 4 million OLED screens, small fry compared to how many tens of millions of iPhones the firm likely will produce, as it “continues to work on ramping up capacity”. 

However, LG – which is reportedly considering opening a new OLED production factory in the Chinese port city of Guangzhou – has bigger ambitions though, and is reportedly looking to secure all OLED orders for one of Apple’s 2018 iPhones, likely the 6.5in iPhone X Plus. 

Such a move would help Apple to lessen its reliance on Samsung, which is currently the sole supplier of displays for the iPhone X and has been linked to the smartphone’s £1,000 starting price. However, on the other hand, LG’s OLED displays have previously received lacklustre reviews – particularly when it comes to the bork-ridden screen on Google’s Pixel 2 XL

“Securing a second supplier for OLED screens is crucial for Apple as it will allow the company to reduce its reliance on Samsung, which is currently the sole supplier,” said Jerry Kang, a senior principal analyst at IHS Markit. 

“At the same time, it will help accelerate a broad adoption of OLED screens. More suppliers means more volume, and in turn, lower pricing.”

27/6/18: Apple’s 6.1in LCD iPhone will arrive in September despite “difficulties” in mass production, according to analyst Ming-Chi Kuo.

In a new research note, Kuo – now of TF International Securities after leaving KGI Securities – reiterates his previous predictions that the mid-sized iPhone will be a “popular option” thanks to its iPhone X-a-like features and lower price-tag. 

He writes that the 6.1in iPhone will feature an LCD display with an all-screen (read: notch-equipped) design similar to that seen on the iPhone X. Because of the decision to switch to LCD, Kuo claims that mass production is “more difficult” and will unlikely kick off until later this year, but notes that the model will be ready for release in September.

And it’ll be cheaper than first thought, too. Kuo says that he expects the LCD iPhone to retail for $600-$700 (around £450-£530), despite previously predicting a $700-$800 starting price. 

This price is afforded by the handset’s cheaper LCD panel, the removal of 3D Touch and the decision to stick with a single rear camera, Kuo notes, adding that Apple will also release an LCD phone in 2019 – despite earlier speculation of a shift to a full OLED line-up

New iPhones aren’t the only new Apple products to expect this year either, according to Kuo. He notes that the firm will also launch a cheaper MacBook Air, iPad Pro models with Face ID and new Apple Watch models with larger displays. 

22/6/18: The largest of Apple’s incoming 2018 iPhone trio, the iPhone X Plus, is expected to be the most popular model. 

Korean website The Bell reports that the so-called iPhone X Plus, which will allegedly pack a 6.5in OLED display, is likely to be Apple’s best-seller, with the firm ordering more screen panels for the plus-sized handset than any other model. 

It claims that Apple has ordered 45 million 6.5in panels, compared to around 25 million panels for the 5.8in iPhone X successor, and 30 million 6.04in LCD screens for the new lower-priced flagship. 

The Bell notes, however, that these orders could be readjusted “depending on future sales”, noting that Apple scaled-back parts orders earlier this year due to lower-than-expected demand for the iPhone X. 

19/6/18: Chipmaker Intel has begun production of modem chips for Apple’s next-generation iPhones. 

Thanks to escalating tensions between Apple and Qualcomm, Intel is expected to supply the majority, if not all of the modem chips for Apple’s 2018 iPhone line-up. 

Nikkei reports that Intel has started production of the XMM 7560 modem chips, the first that the chipmaker has produced in-house. 

“XMM 7560 [modem chips are] now in the process of being deployed… It is in trial and mass production”, Intel’s VP of Technology, Systems Architecture and Client Group, Asha Keddy, was quoted as saying by Nikkei as saying.

Keddy added that the XMM 7560 modem chip is a milestone for Intel as it is the company’s first with CDMA support, which means iPhones equipped with the new Intel modem chips will finally be available on all major carriers. 

Built on the 14nm process, the XMM 7560 is also the first modem chip by Intel to offer download speed of up to 1Gbps with support for 35 LTE bands.

The report claims that Intel is also working with Apple to develop the XMM 8000 series of 5G modems which are expected to debut in the iPhone models set to arrive in 2019.

14/6/18: Apple’s 2018 iPhones will offer improved fast charging technologies, according to new rumours. 

Following recent chatter that the incoming iPhone trio would be the first to ship with a USB-C cable, Rosenblatt Securities analyst Jun Zhang claims that Apple might team up with new suppliers who can provide higher-powered charging components. 

In a research note seen by AppleInsider, Zhang says he expects Apple to upgrade from 5V 2A to 9V 2A and 5V 3A charging circuitry in its upcoming iPhones, thanks to a partnership with a company called Power Integrations who will allegedly replace ON Semiconductor and NXP as the  “the main provider for the charging solution for all new iPhone and iPads.” 

This shift will allow the iPhone to “support more applications, provide a quicker recharge, and better compete with Android OEMs,” Zhang said.

12/6/18: Apple’s new iPhones will reportedly ship with a Lightning to USB-C cable as Apple prepares to add a USB-C port to its 2019 iDevice lineup.

The unlikely rumour comes via Digitimes, which claims that Apple will bundle 2018 iPhones with a Lightning to USB-C cable and a new 18W charger, enabling users to take advantage of Type-C fast charging without needing to buy additional accessories.

More interestingly, Digitimes claims that Apple will be ditching its proprietary Lightning connection, first introduced in 2012, with USB-C in 2019. The shift, which will see Apple joining the rest of the smartphone world. was allegedly considered for the 2018 iPhones but left too late in the process to implement.

Although such a move seems unlikely, it also makes a lot of sense. Apple has already adopted USB-C in its MacBook devices, and USB Type-C is more robust than the firm’s own Lightning connector in terms of bandwidth.

What’s more, adopting USB-C would allow Apple device users to use the same cables and charging accessories across all of their devices, albeit bad news for those who have forked out for Lightning headphones or other accessories.  

11/6/18: Leaked schematics have given us a closer look at Apple’s incoming iPhone X Plus and LCD ‘iPhone’. 

The schematics were obtained by Forbes from accessory maker Ghostek, and there’s a fair chance the latter has access to design information ahead of the handsets’ September launch. It’d also provided Forbes with accurate schematics before, most notably ahead of the launch of the Galaxy S9. 

First on show is the iPhone X Plus (above) which Forbes claims will come with a 6.5in OLED screen, corroborating earlier rumours. The handset will allegedly measure in at 157x77x78, making it slightly smaller than the iPhone 8 Plus. However, it’s expected to boast a steel chassis, which will likely make it weightier than its aluminium-clad, plus-sized predecessor. 

The schematics also show what Forbes claims is a triple-lens camera on the rear of the iPhone X Plus, similar to that seen on the Huawei P20 Pro. However, one of the three cutouts is likely a flash, as Apple isn’t rumoured to be switching to triple-lens cameras until next year.

Next up is Apple’s long-rumoured “affordable” LCD handset (below), which Forbes claims will be called the, er, ‘iPhone’. 

This will have a 6.1in screen, according to this latest leak, and will measure in at 147.12×71.52 mm – longer and wider than current iPhones with 5.8in displays. 

The report notes that the ‘iPhone’ will come with the same Face ID tech as first seen on the iPhone X, while the iPhone X Plus will boast ‘second generation’ mug-scanning tech. 

7/6/18: Apple’s incoming trio of iPhones might be cheaper than expected. 

Analyst Ming-Chi Kuo, famed for his accurate Apple forecasts, said in a recent research note (via MacRumours) that pricing for Apple’s incoming iPhones could start at just $600 (£465). That will bag you the 6.1in LCD model, according to Kuo. 

Apple’s 5.8in iPhone 6 successor will cost between “$800-$900” (£600-£670), Kuo claims, which means despite offering similar specs to the current iPhone X, it could be 

Unsurprisingly, the rumoured 6.5in OLED iPhone will be the most expensive of Apple’s 2018 smartphones, with Kuo predicting a starting price of between $900 and $1,000 (£670-£745). 

Kuo said in his research note: “We forecast that Apple will adopt a more aggressive price policy for the following reasons: (1) concern over the negative impact of a higher price in a mature smartphone market on selling momentum, (2) improved cost structure, which is mainly attributed to assembly yield improvements of end product & 3D sensing and cost reduction of components, and (3) increasing users of Face ID benefiting the promotion of the Apple service and ecosystem.”

Kuo also believes that Apple will announce and release all three 2018 iPhones in September, including the LCD model which recent reports claimed won’t start shipping until November. 

4/6/18: Apple’s long-rumoured ‘affordable’ LCD iPhone has reportedly been delayed due to issues with its display.

So says Korean news site The Bell, which reports that the LCD display – which will have a notch cutout akin to the iPhone X’ OLED display – is suffering production issues.

Both Japanese firm JDI and LG Display are “struggling to secure yields”, with the redesigned screen said to be causing light leakage that can affect the readings of Apple’s Face ID-enabling TrueDepth camera.

“There is a problem with the yield of the added process and the light leakage problem due to the application of the notch design, and it is expected that mass production will be possible by the end of the year,” an industry analyst told The Bell

This means that the LCD iPhone, expected to be the cheapest in Apple’s upcoming 2018 lineup, will unlikely be released until November. 

 “Apple will release the three kinds of LCDs in September,” an industry source added, noting that “it is predicted that the LCD iPhone will be released and shipped in November.”

23/5/18: TSMC has reportedly started production on the processors set to debut inside this year’s lineup of new iPhones.

So says Bloomberg, which reports that the processor – likely to be called the A12 chip – will use a 7-nanometer (7nm) design that will enable smaller, faster and more efficient processors than the 10nm chips found in current iDevices.

And while specifics details have yet to emerge, TSMC claims on its website that its 7nm processor allows for a 20 per cent improvement in performance and around 40 per cent power reduction. 

The Taiwanese chipmaker confirmed to Bloomberg that production had begun, but declined to disclose Apple as its customer.

The report arrives just hours after Samsung announced today that it’ll start producing 7nm chips at scale next year. The company has manufactured iPhone chips in the past and shared production with TSMC on the A9 chip in the iPhone 6S, but TSMC has been Apple’s exclusive SoC partner ever since.

10/5/18: The iPhone X Plus will feature the same footprint as the iPhone 8 despite packing a larger 6.5in display, according to Macotakara.

The website, citing a “reliable supplier source,”, claims that Apple’s supersized iPhone X Plus will be the same size as the iPhone 8 Plus – which packs a much smaller 5.5in display – thanks to its dramatically smaller bezels.

However, Macorakara claims that the handset will be slightly thicker (0.2mm) than the iPhone 8 Plus due to a “different implementation” of the rear-facing camera, which means it likely will measure in around the 7.7mm mark. 

Seperately, the report claims that Apple’s second-gen 5.8in iPhone X will feature a larger camera sensor than the original model, although specifics were not mentioned. 

It also notes that the next version of Apple’s mobile OS, iOS 12, will bring support for horizontal Face ID unlocking. Currently, Face ID can only recognize you while you hold the phone vertically, but horizontal unlock makes sense for the near tablet-sized iPhone X Plus.

1/5/18: Apple reportedly won’t bundle a Lighting to 3.5mm dongle with its 2018 iPhones as the firm looks to eliminate the headphone jack completely. 

Ever since Apple decided to drop the headphone jack on the iPhone 7 and 7 Plus, the company has included a Lighting to 3.5mm adaptor in the box. 

However, a research note from Barclays analyst Blayne Curtis, seen by AppleInsider, claims that this will stop this year, with the analyst noting “we currently model no dongle this year”.

Curtis didn’t provide any evidence, but his claims are backed up by earlier reports that Apple wants to lower the cost of its upcoming iPhones, and getting rid of the adaptor would push down the company’s expenses.

Such a move, while frustrating, wouldn’t be the end of the world, as Apple the adaptor as a standalone accessory for £9, which is cheap by the company’s standards.

27/4/18: Apple’s upcoming 6.1in might scrap 3D Touch due to ‘cost constraints’, according to KGI Securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo.

According to Kuo, the entry-level 6.1in iPhone will use a new technology called ‘Cover Glass Sensor’ (CGS) that will see the handset’s touch control module relocated from the display panel to the actual glass. This CGS glass will reportedly make for a lighter and more shock resistant display, according to the note seen by Chinese site Feng

In addition to the in-glass sensor, Apple will also equip the glass with a ‘touch film sensor’. While the purpose of this remains unclear, Kuo notes that it will make the cost of the touch panel 15 per cent more expensive – with Apple set to pay $26 per touch panel, compared to $23 currently. 

In order to offset the cost of the new display tech, Kuo claims that Apple will get rid of the 3D Touch functionality on the 6.1in iPhone. However, it’ll remain intact on Apple’s 5.8in and 6.5in OLED iPhones, Kuo notes. 

These might be the last two iPhones to offer the functionality, though, as the research note claims that Apple plans to incorporate the CGS tech into future iPhones, including OLED models starting in 2019, 3D Touch could potentially be removed from all future iPhones. 

26/5/18: Intel will supply 70 per cent of LTE chips for Apple’s upcoming 2018 iPhones and could soon become the firm’s sole supplier, Fast Company reports.

KGI Securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo previously hinted that Intel might become Apple’s sole supplier of LTE modems this year, as tensions between the iPhone maker and Qualcomm escalate. 

However, a source with knowledge of Apple’s plans told Fast Company that Intel will supply the majority of the firm’s modem chips in 2018, noting that this is the first year that the chipmaker is fabricating its own chips using the 14nm process. 

“There’s also a chance that if Intel can produce enough chips on time and on budget it could get more than the planned 70 per cent,” the report notes. 

Despite the friction between the two firms, Qualcomm will reportedly provide the remainder of the chips. 

However, the firm could soon be kicked to the curb, as Fortune notes that Apple will transition solely to Intel for its 2019 iPhone lineup if all goes to plan this year. 

25/4/18: Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company (TSMC) has reportedly started production of the A12 processor that will debut inside Apple’s next-generation iPhones.

The chip is being produced using TSMC’s 7-nanometer (nm) production process, according to Digitimes, making it the first A-series chip to use this process. The A11 Bionic chip used inside the iPhone X and iPhone X was suit on the 10nm process. 

The A12 chip – which will reportedly be the first processor based on the 7nm processor, likely followed by Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 855 – looks set to equip Apple’s iPhone X2 with a boost in both speed and a better battery life. TSMC claims on its website that its 7nm processor allows for a 20 per cent improvement in performance and around 40 per cent power reduction. 

Separately, Digitimes notes that TSMC will be the sole producer of A12 chips, despite rumours that Samsung was competing with the firm for A12 production.

Source : Inquirer

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