Apple's iPhone 8 could get curved OLED screens -- and make Samsung billions

If Samsung supplies Apple with curved iPhone 8 screens, it would also make the forthcoming Galaxy S8 phone a lot less unique.

Gordon Gottsegen CNET contributor
Gordon Gottsegen is a tech writer who has experience working at publications like Wired. He loves testing out new gadgets and complaining about them. He is the ghost of all failed Kickstarters.
Gordon Gottsegen
2 min read
Watch this: Curved iPhone 8? Apple said to be exploring OLED screens

There have been rumors (and also this) about Apple 's iPhone 8 getting curved OLED displays to replace the LCD panels of iPhones past. Those rumors got a little bit more weight after Apple reportedly purchased 60 million OLED display panels in a multibillion dollar deal from Samsung Display, according to The Korea Herald.

Apple also reportedly purchased 100 million OLED panels last April, so this deal could be the second of its kind. These two deals, which add up to 160 million OLED displays total, could mean that Samsung may end up being the main supplier for

displays, and the main recipient of a chunk of change.

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Some have tried to imagine what an iPhone 8 would look like with a curved screen.

Martin Hajek

High-end Samsung phones are known for their curved screens, like the ones on the now-defunct Note 7 and Galaxy S7 Edge. (As well as the Galaxy S8 and S8 Plus, allegedly.) Those curved displays have helped Samsung differentiate its products from any others on the market. If the rumor is true that Apple is now a curved-screen client, Samsung's phones won't have that edge -- but it would have an important rival as a customer.

So would Apple and Samsung Mobile be frenemies? Maybe. Apple is said to have big plans for its 10th anniversary iPhone releasing later this year, part of which involves swapping out the usual LCD panel with new OLED displays. It would signal that the two rivals to be top dog in the phone world are ready to put aside the worst of that competition and clear out their bad blood from past legal issues.

Market watchers have pointed out that each iPhone series has sold over 200 million units, according to The Korea Herald. Since the two deals total to 160 million unites, this estimates that Samsung could be supplying 80 percent of the iPhone's displays.

There's big money to be made, too. The first deal was worth 8 trillion Korean won ($6.96 billion/£5.56 billion/AU$9.11 billion), while the most recent was worth 5 trillion won ($4.35 billion/£3.48 billion/AU$5.69 billion). If you add everything together, that suggests each curved OLED screen could cost Apple over $70 apiece (roughly £56 or $AU 92). Although the numbers haven't been confirmed, it falls in line with a different rumor that the iPhone 8 could cost over $1,000. That converts to about £798 and AU$1,308, if you're interested.

Apple and Samsung did not comment about the reported deal.