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Apple Might Have Big Plans for the 2018 iPhone Line

Apple is planning three new iPhones for 2018, and they might all come with new screen technology, according to a new report.

The tech giant is planning to use organic light-emitting diode (OLED) screen technology in three iPhone models next year, the Nikkei is reporting, citing people who claim to have knowledge of its plans. The smartphones would be released in the second half of 2018, and Apple has already started designing those handsets, according to the report.

Since their release in 2007, Apple’s iPhones have relied upon liquid crystal display (LCD) technology for its smartphone screens. LCDs are cheaper and easier to manufacture than OLED screens, but generally deliver duller pictures than the bright and colorful visuals OLED can produce. Additionally, OLED is a thinner and more flexible technology, allowing vendors to offer curved screens in their handsets.

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Apple (AAPL) has been rumored for years to be considering OLED screen technology in its iPhones. However, because the displays are difficult to produce, manufacturers haven’t been able to supply the company with enough units to satisfy the massive demand for its iPhones. Apple has therefore been forced to stick with LCD until manufacturing yields can rise.

According to several reports over the last few months, Apple is planning to use OLED in one iPhone model this year. That device, believed to be known as the iPhone 8 or iPhone X, would sit alongside two other models that would use the LCD screen technology. Those models will reportedly be named the iPhone 7s and iPhone 7s Plus, and offer only minor updates over last year’s iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus models, respectively.

The Nikkei sources say Apple’s supply partners are only able to make enough OLED units to accommodate one iPhone model this year, but believe they can increase yields in 2018, allowing the company to bundle the technology in all three smartphones next year.

For its part, Apple hasn’t commented on any future iPhone plans, and hasn’t said whether it’s indeed chosen OLED as its future smartphone screen technology. However, the company is rumored to be planning an iPhone unveiling event this September, where it will announce one OLED-based handset. Exactly when that device might launch is unknown.