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Apple’s New iPhone X Has A Nasty Surprise

We already know a lot about Apple AAPL +0.45%’s new iPhone plans and there’s a lot to like, especially their reduced prices. But there’s always a ‘but’, and now insider information has revealed a nasty surprise which has the potential to derail Apple’s biggest ever iPhone…

‘Great Secret Features’ and ‘Nasty Surprises’ are my regular columns investigating the best features / biggest problems hidden behind the headlines.

Mac Otakara
3D prints of Apple’s 2018 budget iPhone X (left), second generation iPhone X (middle), iPhone X Plus (right)

Bloomberg reports Apple will source OLED panels for its flagship 6.5-inch iPhone X Plus from LG rather than Samsung. The driver behind this is said to be cost, with Apple looking to “gain leverage in price negotiations with Samsung, the sole supplier of OLED displays for the iPhone X”. But the cost could ultimately be felt most by buyers of Apple’s massive iPhone.

Why? Because to date, LG has yet to make a single smartphone OLED display which is not subpar.

LG’s most recent efforts can be seen in Google’s Pixel 2 XL, a brilliant phone that was almost sunk due to controversy about its poor quality display, and LG’s current V30 flagship which has a screen so bad it has been singled out as a dealbreaker. As The Verge noted in its review of the V30:

“It’s painfully apparent that LG’s so-called plastic OLED screens are multiple generations behind Samsung’s alternative”.

What has forced Apple’s hand, however, is Samsung has the company over a barrel. At launch, the iPhone X was rightly lauded for having the best smartphone display on the market and Bloomberg notes Samsung’s asking price for the component “is a key reason iPhone X pricing starts at $1,000 and sales haven’t met initial expectations.”

Ghostek, Gordon Kelly
6.5-inch iPhone X Plus schematics

With Apple determined to correct this by substantially cutting new iPhone prices, LG is its way of achieving that. Can Apple bring this underperformer up to its famously exacting standards, or will customers not mind a drop-off in quality if the asking price is lower?

Bloomberg states LG is likely to make only a portion of Apple’s new iPhone displays which could result in ‘good and bad’ models and no-way for a customer to know which one they are getting prior to purchase.

Interestingly, one crumb of comfort for Apple fans could be Google. Recent leaks revealed Google will again go back to LG for its Pixel 3 XL displays. Having been so badly burned by the Pixel 2 XL controversy, it stands to reason that LG must have impressed Google with its next-generation panels for the company to risk going back.