Apple jumped onto the OLED bandwagon last year, finally. And with the iPhone X’s display it managed to make the best screen on the market at the time.
Samsung will probably take that crown in the early part of this year, thanks to the Galaxy S9 and Galaxy S9+, but there is no reason to think that the successor to the iPhone X, which will see the light of day later this year, will earn that title back for the Apple crew. We’re going to see a lot of back-and-forth from this point on, even as companies move away from OLED and adopt other technologies.
It’s worth noting here that Samsung technically manufactured the display in the iPhone X. That’s important for quite a few reasons, but mainly because Apple was working with a company that has figured out OLED displays. As far as smartphone displays are concerned, Samsung has led the pack, especially in the OLED competition. So while Apple made changes in some key areas, and actually designed the iPhone X’s screen, we can’t ignore the fact that Samsung laid a pretty solid groundwork to build up from.
But Apple doesn’t want to rely on one company for any individual part of its iPhone lineup if it can help it. Diversifying the manufacturing process is one of the reasons why Apple can make so many phones — even if there are still delays and supply shortages along the way. As a result, we have already heard that Apple is going to tap LG as a supplier for the display in the rumored “iPhone X Plus,” which will be a bigger variant launched later this year (if it’s real at all).
The news itself that Apple is considering using another company other than LG isn’t surprising at all, for the reason mentioned above. And, for all intents and purposes, LG is a company that shouldn’t bring up any concern just because they got name dropped in the rumor process. But, there might be one real world example for why someone might have some trepidation towards that particular rumor.
It’s called the Google Pixel 2 XL. This is a flagship handset that utilized a plastic OLED display from LG, and, simply put, it did not pass a lot of early reviews. A lot of people were not happy with the colors, even as Google justified them as being more natural — an argument that Apple has long stuck to for its own displays, and even leans into with the iPhone X’s OLED panel. Google did launch different color options, boosting colors and offering more saturated options, but the results are still lagging behind Samsung’s top-tier offerings, and the iPhone X, too.
And then there’s the fact that the display on the Pixel 2 XL was littered with burn-in issues, dead pixels, and other major issues. The problems got so bad that Google extended the manufacturer’s warranty to two years just by default.
I spent time with the Pixel 2 XL and was not happy with the display at all. Even with the different color options, my experience with the Galaxy S8+ was better right out of the gate. And I don’t think the display on the Pixel 2 XL holds a candle to what the iPhone X offers. And that doesn’t even include the dead pixel my unit had, which is wildly frustrating.
This is a purely subjective situation, though. Some folks are going to love the Pixel 2 XL’s display, and say that it’s better than any other display available. Nothing wrong with that at all.
However, in my own experience, I can’t help but be a little skeptical about Apple’s rumored decision to go with LG. Yes, Apple is going to do exactly the same thing with LG, or any other company it chooses to go with, as it did with Samsung, and it’s still going to demand strict technical specifications and what not. But, going back to what I said before, about Samsung already having that solid base to build from. If LG’s display in the Pixel 2 XL is any indicator of what Apple would have to “build up” from, well, I think this is one time where waiting for the reviews might be a good idea before picking up a new iPhone.
Ultimately, Apple is going to use different sources for its components, and that includes displays, because Apple doesn’t have a choice. It has to manufacture so many devices that using multiple companies to build the units is a requirement. And we don’t know if Apple has actually chosen LG just yet, so anything is still possible. Everything is still up in the air. Either way, we’ll have to wait and see.
How do you feel about the rumors about Apple tapping LG to manufacture the display in the iPhone X Plus? Not concerned about it at all? Or are you hoping the company goes with a different option?