KGI Securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo has spilled the beans in a new report obtained by 9to5Mac and, put bluntly, it’s all Samsung’s fault.
In short, Kuo says Samsung has Apple over a barrel. He reveals Samsung is the sole supplier of OLED panels for the iPhone 8’s headline feature, it’s 5.8-inch OLED display, and as such is demanding upwards of $130 per display.
By comparison, the iPhone 7 Plus LCD display costs Apple only $45-55 and this is the biggest factor behind the iPhone 8’s most unpalatable element: the astronomical asking price. Why hasn’t Apple gone elsewhere? Because Samsung was the only company which was able to supply OLED panels in the quantity Apple requires.
But this is just part one. The second area where the iPhone 8 will inevitably disappoint many is its removal of the Touch ID fingerprint sensor.
Again Kuo lays the blame on Samsung’s OLED panels. He claims Samsung was unable to create an OLED panel with favourable scan-through performance for the fingerprint sensor to operate effectively. Apple was not prepared to copy Samsung by putting the sensor on the back or, like Sony, in the power button so it scrapped Touch ID on the iPhone 8’s completely and will gamble on Face ID handling everything instead.
But Samsung’s OLED is far from the only culprit here. Previous reports have cited the introduction of fast charging and wireless charging, among others, as adding significant additional cost and complexity to the iPhone 8’s assembly.
Cynics will point out features like OLED, fast charging and wireless charging are merely catch-ups and Apple shouldn’t have been so far behind in the first place to feel forced into making them all in a single generation. Then again all these upgrades may just make the iPhone 8 worth both its high price and the omission of Touch ID.
Apple iPhone 8 is launching on Tuesday.