Here’s what Apple could be planning after the iPhone 8

IPhone 8 White
This is what a white ‘iPhone 8’ could look like, according to current rumours. Drawing by designer Martin Hajek. Martin Hajek

For the past few years, Apple has released a redesigned iPhone one year before upgrading its components the year after, giving that model an “S” designation.

Last year, Apple strayed from that tradition with the iPhone 7, which didn’t have a radically new design. But in the next two years, Apple appears poised to totally break its typical release cadence, according to a new report from Nikkei.

Apple may be planning to release three new iPhones in 2018, according to the report. All three of these new phones will have a kind of screen called OLED, which is a newer, superior technology with darker blacks and better power consumption.

But before that, Apple is expected to launch a premium handset later this year that’s being called the iPhone 8, for lack of a better term. This model is expected to get a full redesign without a home button, an OLED screen, and a price tag that may top $US1000. But for most people, it’s rumoured that Apple will release two new, more affordable iPhone models that are more like the current iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus.

And then, in 2018, the plan is that Apple will bring OLED screens to all three of its models. Apple has started to design those iPhones, according to Nikkei.

The subtext to this latest report is that there is a shortage of OLED screens, which have been used in high-end Samsung Android phones in the past.

Apple will require tens of millions of OLED screens, which could cause other companies to miss out on the key component. Currently, Samsung Display is the only company making OLED screens for smartphones at scale, but other companies, including Foxconn’s Sharp, are ramping up production.

Foxconn will assemble all of the redesigned iPhones this year, according to Nikkei.

What’s clear is that Apple is completely shifting its iPhone product lineup, focusing around the next generation screen, and by 2019, Apple’s iPhone lineup will have mostly OLED screens. What Apple decides to call these redesigned iPhones will be revealed at one of its famous product launch events.

“We are not going to go through things we’re going to do in 2019, ’20, ’21. It’s not because we don’t know that. It’s because we don’t want to talk about that,” Apple CEO Tim Cook said in June.