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Apple's 'iPhone 8' prompts rival smartphone makers to clamber for OLED supplies

"iPhone 8" OLED concept via iMore.

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Worried that Apple will monopolize OLED supply capacity for this year's "iPhone 8," a number of smartphone vendors are said to be racing to secure some that capacity for their own OLED products.

The situation should trigger a shortage of OLED panels this year, sources in the Taiwanese supply chain industry told DigiTimes. The people noted in fact that supplies for many components are likely to be short — including memory, LCDs, and optical sensors — because of growing demand from Chinese smartphone makers like Huawei, Oppo, and Vivo.

The problem could be amplified by those companies trying to shift further towards mid- to high-end phones. Indeed, LCD supplies may be tight as the common size of phone displays grows from 5 inches to 5.5 or even 5.7 inches.

Apple is expected to debut three new iPhones this year. Two of these belong to an alleged "iPhone 7s" lineup, with 4.7- and 5.5-inch LCDs like their predecessors. The top-end "iPhone 8" is expected to have a curved Samsung OLED panel measuring 5.1 or 5.2 inches, perhaps reflecting the trend towards bigger displays.

All three phones may support wireless charging, catching up with other high-end smartphones. That could explain rumors of Apple reverting to glass backs, since metal can interfere with wireless signals.

The "iPhone 8" may take its design even further, possibly gaining IP68 water resistance and integrating its home button and/or front sensors into the display.