How will Apple reverse sliding iPhone sales? Will a new iPhone with a curved OLED screen really help?
According to a new report published by the Wall Street Journal, the new iPhone may feature a curved screen. Apple’s Asian suppliers told the newspaper that they’ve been asked to increase ‘output of thinner organic light emitting displays.’ They’ve also submitted prototype screens with better resolution to differentiate models from Samsung devices.
The news comes amid weakening iPhone sales. Just last month, the Cupertino-based company posted its third consecutive decline in quarterly revenue. The reason? Slowing iPhone sales. The company expects higher iPhone sales this holiday season. Tim Cook told investors,
“The customer response has really been off the charts. We couldn’t be more happy with how it’s been received.”
Apple is also under pressure to turn things around with the iPhone 7. According to sources close to the company, Apple will introduce several new phone models. The iPhone 8 may also feature an OLED screen. However, this means a much higher price tag, since OLED screens are expensive to produce.
Sources also claim the Cupertino-based company is currently experimenting with more than 10 iPhone prototypes.
More and more companies are turning to OLED screens, including rivals Samsung, Google, and Xiaomi Corp. Samsung currently mass-produces these displays. Apple, meanwhile, relies on rivals LG Display, Japan Display, and Sharp for retina LED displays.
If Apple goes with OLED displays, they’ll most likely rely on Samsung once again for these screens. China-based Foxconn, where Apple manufacturers their iPhones, acquired Sharp. A source close to the company said Sharp would have to spend more than $5 billion to supply enough OLED panels to Apple. WSJ posted an image showing the growing market and revenue for OLED screens.
Despite the growing market for OLED screens, many companies are skeptical the technology will become mainstream. Tai Jeng-wu, a Sharp chief executive said last month,
“We will make sample OLED screens, but I can’t see them having the potential to become a big market.”
Another reason for the skepticism is that these displays aren’t yet perfected. A truly flexible screen may take years, analysts say. Also, touch sensors and lens also restrict true screen flexibility. If the iPhone 8 does roll out with a curved screen, it’s unclear how successful this will truly be for the company.