The chorus of voices claiming that Apple will release a limited-edition iPhone with an OLED display just got a little bit louder. The Wall Street Journal's anonymous sources, familiar with the matter, claim that the 10th iteration of the device will pack a curved OLED screen. Unfortunately, this is likely to further split Apple's formerly seamless lineup, since the regular iPhone refreshes are believed to pack LCD displays.
Take it with a pinch of salt, but the WSJ's current thinking is that Tim Cook will announce three devices toward the end of this year. First up, there'll be two devices that match the company's usual refresh cycle: a mythical iPhone 7S and 7S Plus with LCD screens. Then, as a treat, the company will pull out the iPhone 10th Anniversary Edition, that comes with the OLED display and a whopping $1,000 price tag.
The paper has also mooted that Apple will ditch both its traditional home button and the Lightning connector in favor of USB-C and a touch zone on the chin of the device. The latter claim matches what analyst Ming-Chi Kuo has been saying for the last few weeks, with the next iPhone getting a "function area" or secondary touchscreen below the primary.
Re rumors that iPhone drops Lightning (yes, just rumor), my guess: Lightning stays on phone, charger end gets USB-C, cable connects to Mac— Avi Greengart (@greengart) February 28, 2017
As for who is making the display, it'll be Samsung's baby, at least initially, since LG and JDI aren't yet ready to produce OLEDs in Apple-size quantities. A report from the back-end of last year claimed that those two companies won't have production capacity until 2018. Apple was undeterred, however, and seemingly pushed ahead with launching one premium device before it could mass-produce the rest.
One thing that the WSJ report doesn't cover is the rumor that the next iPhone will feature a new 3D-tracking forward camera. Apple's acquisition of PrimeSense, the company behind the original Kinect, coupled with Tim Cook's comments on AR, make such an addition plausible, if not expected.
We've said previously how unwise the creation of an ultra-premium iPhone is considering Apple's traditional strategy. It normally offers new features consistently across its new devices, with only display size, battery capacity and cameras differing between the two units. With an iPhone X to sit alongside the 7S, 7S Plus and SE, consumers will have a confusing mix of trade-offs -- not ideal for a company that prides itself on simplicity.