In his latest investor note, KGI analyst Ming-Chi Kuo has laid down his predictions for the upcoming iPhones from Apple. The analyst believes Apple will be launching three new iPhones this year, including one with a 5.2-inch screen size featuring an all new design and an OLED display.
The usable screen area of the display will be around 5.2-inches, though the actual display will be around 5.8-inches tall. This is because the bottom part of the display will be reserved as a Function Area with an on-screen Home button.
While there have been reports of Apple integrating the fingerprint scanner in the display of the iPhone 8, Kuo does not believe that to be the case. As per him, the handset will completely lack Touch ID, though Apple will make up for it by including 3D facial recognition technology.
In addition, there will be two other iPhone variants featuring 4.7-inch and 5.5-inch LCD displays and a design similar to the existing iPhones.
The OLED iPhone 8 will be the highlight of Apple’s iPhone lineup this year. It will feature the highest screen-to-body ratio of any smartphone ever in the market thanks to its “notch display” design. Apple will also be tuning the speaker output of the handset to create a better stereo effect.
The three iPhone variants will be similar to each other in other aspects. They will all feature a Lightning port, though there will also be an embedded USB-C IC for faster charging times. The three models will only be available in 64GB and 256GB storage variants, and while the smaller 4.7-inch iPhone will feature 2GB RAM, the other two models will come with 3GB RAM. This is due to the larger variants featuring a dual-camera setup at the rear.
Finally, the analyst expects Apple to ramp up production of the LCD iPhone from August-September, while the OLED iPhone’s production will start being ramped up from October-November. This is likely due to the complexity involved in producing certain components used inside the iPhone 8. Due to this, Kuo believes Apple might just unveil the three iPhones in September, but the OLED iPhone 8 will go on sale at a later date than its LCD siblings. The handset will also be in tight supply for the first few weeks, with supply only expected to catch up with the demand in H1, 2018.
Below are the full claims being made by Kuo today in his latest note:
1: Apple will roll out three iPhone models in 2H17, including an all-new design 5.2” (or 5.8” depending on the definition of screen size in use) OLED iPhone & LCD models including 4.7” & 5.5” (front form factor design similar to current ones).
2: OLED iPhone will adopt full-screen design, with the highest screen-to-body ratio of any smartphone currently available worldwide (thanks to a notch display design); the OLED model will also come with a virtual Home button, though the button will not support fingerprint recognition.
3: OLED iPhone will support 3D sensing for facial recognition & improved selfie quality.
4: OLED iPhone & 5.5” LCD iPhone will both come with DRAM capacity of 3GB (for dual-camera requirements), while 4.7” version will only use 2GB DRAM (for only single camera).
5: Three new models will all come with 64GB and 256GB storage options.
6: All three new models will have a Lightning port; however, there will be an embedded USB-C power delivery IC for higher charging efficiency.
7: The output power of the receiver & speaker of OLED iPhone will be more consistent to create better stereo effects.
8: To maintain its boutique image, we think the OLED version will offer fewer options for casing colors than LCD iPhone models.
9: We predict October-November & August-September as production ramp-up schedules of OLED iPhone & LCD iPhone, respectively. “For optimized promotional effect, we think Apple may unveil the three models simultaneously in September, though the launch date of the OLED version may trail that of LCD models, and supply tightness may not improve before 1H18.”
10: We forecast shipments of the three new models in 2017F will be 80-85mn units, with an equal split between OLED & LCD versions.
Interestingly, Kuo claims of Apple not using an embedded fingerprint scanner on the iPhone 8 contradicts other recent reports. While early reports claimed the in-display fingerprint scanner would not be ready in time, recent leaks suggested that Apple’s suppliers had solved all yield issues. And others have claimed that since the fingerprint scanner technology will not be ready in time, Apple will be placing the Touch ID sensor at the rear of the device.
It does seem unlikely that Apple will remove the fingerprint scanner completely from the OLED iPhone 8 since users have grown used to it. Instead, the company will likely end up placing the fingerprint scanner at the rear and complement it with the facial recognition technology on the device.
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