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Report: All iPhones will ditch LCDs for OLEDs by 2020

This could be good news for Android.

Published onJanuary 22, 2019

The Apple iPhone XR as depicted on stage during the Apple Event 2018.
  • A new report suggests Apple will completely ditch LCD panels for its iPhones in 2020.
  • The 2019 version of the iPhone XR will likely be the last iPhone with an LCD.
  • If iPhone OLEDs become the new normal, this could mean more Android phones with OLEDs as well.

According to a report from The Wall Street Journal, Apple plans to completely eliminate LCD displays from its entire iPhone lineup by 2020. Reportedly, the 2019 successor to the iPhone XR will be the last LCD iPhone, with the future being all about iPhone OLEDs.

While this is good news for Apple fans as OLED displays are superior to LCD displays in multiple ways, this is also good news for Android fans. OLED panels usually only make their way to more expensive Android devices because OLEDs simply cost more than LCDs. If Apple is going all-in on OLEDs, though, that could change for the better.

Since Apple is one of the world’s largest manufacturers of smartphones, it is also one of the biggest smartphone display panel purchasers. Because of its size, Apple usually can negotiate better deals on hardware than smaller players. Those price cuts inevitably drive cost down across the market as other manufacturers step in to vie for business.

Apple wanted Qualcomm chips in iPhone XS/XR, but Qualcomm refused
iPhone XS Max in man's hand against a white backdrop.

In other words, if Apple really is going to ditch LCD panels entirely, that means there will very likely be more Android phones with OLEDs — at lower prices.

Obviously, the downside to this is that current LCD manufacturers are going to face some major difficulties in moving their products if Apple completely steps out of the game. Luckily, the entry-level smartphone market is on the uptick with developing nations buying phones for the first time. This likely means LCD panels will do fine for the time being. However, LCD manufacturers are going to need to figure out new revenue streams fast.

At the end of 2018, it was revealed that iPhone sales — including the aforementioned iPhone XR — are much lower than expected. If Apple only plans to do away with LCDs in 2020, that means the iPhone XR successor will likely be an iterative upgrade over the 2018 model, i.e. it will likely look pretty much the same. We’ll have to see how that pans out for Apple.

NEXT: Yes, Apple, the slowing smartphone market affects you, too

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