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'iPhone 12' line expected to use two different OLED screen technologies

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The three models of 'iPhone 12' expected for 2020 will all have OLED-based screens instead of splitting between LCD and OLED, a report claims, but the two higher-tier models are tipped to continue using a better display than the lower-cost variant.

Rumors about the 2020 batch of 'iPhone 12' models have suggested the possibility of Apple doing away with LCD in favor of OLED across all models. Despite the switch to a single technology, consumers may still notice differences in the displays between the cheapest model and the other two.

According to ETNews, Apple will be sourcing the vast majority of its OLED panels from long-term suppliers Samsung Display and LG Display. BOE was previously predicted to be a supplier for the new models, but there is apparently a "high chance" it will be left out in favor of sticking to two suppliers.

The models are anticipated to be sized at 5.4 inches, 6.1 inches, and 6.7 inches, though there is mention of a fourth model with 5G that will have the same dimensions as one of the other three. Of the trio of screens, Samsung Display is understood to be the sole supplier of the 5.4-inch and 6.7-inch panels, while it will be joined by LG Display for the 6.1-inch version.

The 5.4-inch and 6.7-inch displays will both use an "on-cell touch" panel Samsung refers to as "Y-Octa" technology, effectively eliminating the use of a film for manufacturing the display. This can result in a thinner screen and a lower production cost.

It is unknown what Apple will pay Samsung to secure the supplies of the display, but an industry source told the report of rumors Samsung Display offered "shocking terms in order to obtain an order from Apple."

While Apple is seemingly shifting away from film-based manufacturing for its iPhone displays, it won't do so entirely. The 6.1-inch OLED panels will still use the film touch method, as while LG Display has the capability of producing screens using on-cell touch techniques, it is apparently falling short of Apple's standards in both quality and capacity.

As well as using OLED across the board, supply chain rumors in October suggest next year's versions will also use the high-refresh-rate ProMotion technology, enabling the screens to function at 120Hz.