Apparently, the four main OLED screen suppliers won’t have the production capacity to make displays for all three rumored 2017 iPhone models. Bloomberg’s report corroborates an earlier report from KGI Securities, which says Apple is planning three iPhones—one 4.7-inch model and two 5.5-inch models—and that only one of the 5.5-inch models will have an OLED screen.
OLED screens have brighter, more vibrant colors and can also flex for use in curved edge-to-edge glass designs like Samsung’s Galaxy S7 Edge.
The problem is that OLED screens are much harder to make than traditional LCDs, and as a result, getting the production yields necessary for a hugely popular product like the iPhone. As Bloomberg explains:
Apple’s initial OLED order from Samsung is for 100 million units over one year, according to people familiar with the agreement. Even so, Samsung will probably only be able to deliver a portion of that for the 2017 holiday period. Apple shipped about 75 million iPhones in the 2015 holiday quarter, and some analysts estimate that as many as 90 million could be sold in the last three months of 2017.
There are other companies that make OLED screens, including LG, Sharp, and Japan Display Inc, but Gurman and Lee note that none of them are prepared to produce in large quantities until 2018.
This is all disappointing because many other manufacturers have been using the superior tech for years. Even if Apple shipped all of its phones with OLED next year, it would be late to the technology. Bummer.