Following the release of three iPhone models last year, Apple is widely expected to implement the same strategy in 2018.
The first report of three new iPhone models surfaced even before the launch of the iPhone 8/8 Plus/X. A source of Nikkei Asian Review claimed that Apple was considering to launch three new iPhone models in 2018.
Former KGI Securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo reported in early November 2017 that Apple would be equipping two iPhone models with OLED displays and use more parts for the stainless steel frame to improve data transmission quality.
Kuo later followed up with another report in the same month that there will be three new iPhone models coming. They are likely to consist of two OLED models (5.8-inch and 6.5-inch) and one LCD model (6.1-inch). The two OLED models are believed to be positioned at the high-end market while the 6.1-inch LCD model will cater to the masses.
Just two months ago, prominent tipster @OnLeaks and MySmartPrice published the purported photos and videos of the 6.1-inch and 6.5-inch iPhone models. Another leakster Wylsa shared renders of the 2018 iPhone lineup based on purported schematics.
Our thoughts: Highly likely to be three new iPhone models.
Since early 2017, there have been conflicting reports on whether Apple will transition the entire iPhone lineup to OLED in 2018.
While Korean publication The Bell reported in March 2017 that the full transition to OLED will only happen in 2019, the Nikkei Asian Review reported in July 2017 that all new iPhone models in 2018 will use OLED panels.
From the beginning of this year, more reports surfaced suggesting that the full transition to OLED is likely to be next year due to cost considerations. As OLED panels are more expensive to make and there is currently only one competent supplier, Apple might want to wait for other display makers to catch up with OLED production before transiting its entire iPhone lineup to OLED.
In the meantime, Apple is reportedly interested to buy Full Active LCD panels from Japan Display for the 6.1-inch iPhone. The Full Active LCD panels will help Apple achieve the iPhone X-like design as they only require 0.5mm of bezels. The iPhone maker is also said to be negotiating with Samsung on possible price cuts for the latter's OLED panels to lower production costs for this year's iPhone lineup.
For now, LG Display is rumored to be the second supplier of OLED panels for Apple. While there are different estimates on the deal between LG Display and Apple, the range is between two to five million orders.
Our thoughts: The full transition to OLED will happen in 2019 when manufacturing costs go down and more display suppliers come onboard.