With the iPhone 7 having been out for nearly three months now, the always-busy Apple rumor mill is refocusing its attention on what may very well be Apple's most anticipated product launch in years—the iPhone 8.
Speaking to the gravitas that surrounds Apple's next-gen iPhone, it's widely believed that Apple next year will forgo the iPhone 7s name and will instead call its 2017 smartphone the iPhone 8. Not only does Apple's upcoming iPhone mark the 10th anniversary of the iPhone, rumor has it that it will also usher in some long-overdue changes to the iPhone's industrial design.
According to a number of reports, Apple's upper-tier iPhone 8 model will feature a curved OLED panel along with an edge-to-edge display. In other words, the entire device will effectively consist of one giant piece of glass. As a result, many of the device's sensors are said to be embedded underneath or in the display itself.
Lending some additional credence to an abundance of iPhone 8 rumors, the Wall Street Journal earlier this week reported that Apple is already asking some of its component suppliers to increase production capacity for OLED panels. Of particular interest is that Apple is reportedly exploring the pros and cons of 10 different iPhone 8 prototypes ahead of next year's launch. While that may sound like a lot at first glance, it's worth noting that Apple experimented with even more prototypes ahead of the original iPhone launch, a fact that bubbled to the surface during Apple's legal battle with Samsung.
From what we've gleaned thus far, Apple for the iPhone 8 will rely exclusively on Samsung for OLED panels. That said, Apple hopes to diversify its list of component suppliers in just a year's time.
People familiar with the matter said Apple will likely rely on Samsung for most of its initial OLED needs, but it wants LG Display, Japan Display and Sharp to ramp up production to have supplies ready for 2018.
One of the people said Sharp would need to spend more than $5 billion to supply enough OLED panels to Apple.
OLED panels, while more expensive to manufacture, also deliver richer and more vibrant colors. What's more, OLED panels are known to be more energy efficient than the LCD displays Apple currently uses across its iPhone lineup.
Seeing as how the iPhone's form factor hasn't changed much at all since the release of the iPhone 6, the demand and anticipation for Apple to deliver a home run with the iPhone 8 continues to grow with each passing month.
Consequently, Ming Chi-Kuo, one of the more reliable Apple analysts on the planet, recently issued a research note articulating that the iPhone 8—which may also feature wireless charging as a flagship feature—could very well shatter all existing iPhone sales records. Specifically, Kuo, in a note obtained by AppleInsider, anticipates that pre-production volume may fall somewhere in the 120 million and 150 million range.
"If those numbers hold," AppleInsider adds, "that could blow past the previous peak of between 110 million to 120 million that suppliers prepared for at the launch of the iPhone 6, which remains Apple's best-selling handset ever."