Rumors of the next version of Apple’s flagship have captured the attention of iphone lovers since the release of the iPhone 7 in September, and by now there’s an established set of features most prognosticators expect will come in 2017. One of the most notable of these features is a brand-new AMOLED display, a change from the current LCD design.
Now, a supply chain rumor reported by DigiTimes (which has been hit-or-miss when it comes to leaks in the past) claims not only that the switch has been confirmed, but the exclusive supplier of the new AMOLED panels will be one of Apple’s biggest competitors.
According to the report, which DigiTimes attributes to Taiwan-based supply chain makers, Samsung Display will be the “exclusive supplier” of AMOLED panels for the 2017 iPhone. It will provide Apple a maximum of 20 million units a month.
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This leak comes after a deal between the two companies focused on OLED display panels was reported back in April. The report claims that production will begin in “small volumes” in March, to be ramped up in May and June to prepare for a product launch in the second half of 2017.
If the rumors are true, they confirm another aspect of the 2017 iPhone that has been floated throughout the leak cycle. There will be three new versions of the phone released next year — but only one of them will have the new design: Apple will launch 4.7-, 5.5- and 5.8-inch new iPhone models in second-half 2017, with TFT-LCD panels to be used in the former two models and AMOLED for the 5.8-inch one, the sources said. Global shipments of the AMOLED iPhone in 2017 are estimated at 60-70 million units, the sources noted.
Everything considered, this wouldn’t be a big surprise if true. Samsung is a major producer of AMOLED panels, as its own flagship Galaxy line has AMOLED displays. Apple depends on secondary producers for parts of its supply chain, so partnering up — even with a rival — is nothing new.