Taking a look back at another week of news from Cupertino, this week’s Apple Loop includes screen details for the new iPhone X Plus, iPhone OLED vs LCD, the delays to the new iPhone, Apple restricting fast charging, MacBook Pro bugs, Qualcomm loses out in iPhone modem battle, more jobs at Foxconn, and the value for money in the iPhone X.
Apple Loop is here to remind you of a few of the very many discussions that have happened around Apple over the last seven days (and you can read my weekly digest of Android news here on Forbes).
iPhone X Plus Screen Details
It looks like Apple will be forced into using Samsung’s OLED display in the iPhone X Plus when it launches in September this year. Although the smaller iPhone X screen from last year are supplied by LG, the larger iPhone X plus expected in September will have screens manufactured by Apple’s long-term rival Samsung. Ramish Zafar reports:
After supplying Apple with samples, the next step in LG’s manufacturing process is running mass production runs. This ensures that any discrepancies and problems that might impact deliveries, later on, will be rooted out. However, right now, LG is unable to commence testing, which in turn raises doubts of the company’s capability to supply Apple with enough panels in time for Apple to assemble the 2018 smartphone lineup and particularly the 6.5″ iPhone X(s) Plus.
Right now it’s estimated that LG will commence mass production by September, which will be too late for Apple’s initial requirements. If LG fails to commence mass production by September, then it will be relegated to the role of secondary supplier, for providing display panels to be used on devices that Apple will repair after damage.
When The Cheap Screen Isn’t The Best Screen
Meanwhile, the replacement to the iPhone 8 (which could be called the iPhone 9, the iPhone X SE, or even just ‘iPhone’) is working hard to minimize the visual disparity between its LCD screen and the OLED screen of the iPhone X and the iPhone X Plus. It is not working. Forbes’ Gordon Kelly takes a closer look:
Despite developing a new cutting-edge display connector, Apple cannot reduce the bezel on the cheaper phone’s LCD display to match that of the more expensive OLED models which simply bend their displays around the back so the connector sits out the way.
In a best-case scenario, the difference between them is quite small. In the worst case scenario, however, 3D modelling has shown this makes the iPhone 9 look like a toy.
Why The New iPhone Will Be Delayed
That’s not the only issue facing the LCD screen. Looking at the supply chain, the screen is running behind schedule, and that could mean the ‘iPhone 9’ will not be available alongside the new iPhone X and X plus handsets. I looked at the impact earlier this week:
…the latest look at the supply chain from Morgan Stanley’s Katy Huberty. And it’s not looking good for the lowest-ranged model in the 2018 iPhone portfolio. The replacement for the iPhone 8 (which remains nameless, but could easily be the iPhone 8S, the iPhone 9, or simply ‘iPhone) will be the only one of the three new models to feature an LCD screen.
And the LCD screen is behind schedule. Huberty writes “We currently see no delay in the ramp of Apple’s upcoming flagship 5.8″ or 6.5″ OLED iPhones. However suspected issues with LED backlight leakage have caused a 1 month delay in mass production of the 6.1” LCD iPhone, although this is down from a 6-week delay baked into the original production forecast, according to suppliers.”
Will Apple Restrict Fast Charging Potential On iPhone?
Although Apple is expected to (finally) move to fast chargers in the iPhone ecosystem, including fast chargers in the retail packaging. But it also looks set to create a ‘lock-out’ in its fast charging systems to prevent any other manufacturer getting a slice of the charging pie. Gordon Kelly looks at the details:
In what can only be described as a move designed to wring cash from the pockets of new iPhone owners, acclaimed tech site Macotakara reports Apple will make fast charging incompatible with all existing third-party chargers.
Citing conversions with “multiple suppliers”, Macotakara says Apple has added support for ‘C-AUTH’ to its new iPhones’ charging specification. C-AUTH stands for ‘USB Type-C Authentication’ and means Apple will introduce a security check that stops fast charging from third party chargers and cables unless they have been specifically licenced by Apple.
Bug Found In MacBook Pro’s Thermal Issues
Turns out that the reduced performance in the new MacBook Pro machines (reported last week) that was resulting in throttled CPUs due to thermal issues was in part down to bugs that slipped through Apple’s testing regime. Jordan Kahn reports:
Apple is today pushing out an update for its brand new MacBook Pros released earlier this month to address a bug that resulted in performance issues related to the machines’ thermal management system under certain conditions. Specifically, the bug affects the new MacBook Pro’s thermal management system and drives clock speeds down lower than necessary under heavy workloads.
More at 9to5 Mac. Apple has noted that a fix is now in place:
A bug fix is included in today’s macOS High Sierra 10.13.6 Supplemental Update and is recommended. We apologize to any customer who has experienced less than optimal performance on their new systems.
Qualcomm No Longer Inside
Apple continues to put pressure on its supply chain to bring down the costs of the iPhone production. As expected, Tim Cook and his team have made a decision on the modem inside the hardware. Currently supply is split between Intel and Qualcomm, but now Qualcomm has acknowledged it is out of the game. Shara Tibken reports:
Qualcomm, a major supplier of 4G chips for smartphones, on Wednesday said it doesn’t expect to supply modems for any upcoming iPhones.
“We believe Apple intends to solely use our competitor’s modems rather than our modems in its next iPhone release,” Qualcomm financial chief George Davis said during an earnings call with analysts.
Cristiano Amon, the head of Qualcomm’s chip business, noted that it doesn’t mean Qualcomm has lost Apple’s business forever, but it’s out for now.
More Jobs For More iPhones
The annual spike in iPhone sales means there is an annual spike in iPhone manufacturing. Foxconn is advertising improved rates to bring in more staff as the spike starts. Jack Purcher reports:
It’s being reported today that Foxconn Electronics is offering extra bonuses in its bid to hire more workers for its plants in Zhengzhou, China, to manufacture the next-generation iPhones, according to the Economic Daily News.
Digitimes is reporting that “Foxconn is offering one-off bonuses of up to CNY2,000 (US$295) for workers renewing their contracts, the paper said.
Numbers obtained via liquidation specialists B-Stock suggest that the iPhone X is retaining 85% of its value in the resale market. Ben Lovejoy has the numbers:
One reason for this is high domestic demand. While a significant percentage of iPhone models are sent overseas, the company says that almost all iPhone X models are sold within the USA, with just 2% being sold abroad. The popularity of the new form factor also means that those who want an iPhone X, and are looking to save a little money by buying a used one, won’t consider alternative models.
Apple Loop brings you seven days worth of highlights every weekend here on Forbes. Don’t forget to follow me so you don’t miss any coverage in the future. Last week’s Apple Loop can be read here, or this week’s edition of Loop’s sister column, Android Circuit, is also available on Forbes.