When Apple launched the iPhone X in September last year, it was (and still is) the most expensive iPhone ever. The 256GB variant of the Phone X currently retails for around $1,000 in the US and about Rs 1 lakh in India.
But, according to new information, its successor could be launched with a comparatively cheaper price tag.
According to a report in Taiwanese publication Digitimes, Apple could launch a 5.85-inch OLED iPhone that would be cheaper to manufacture than the original iPhone X (REVIEW).
The report said that Apple has managed to reduce the manufacturing costs of the new device to "a level much lower" than that of the current iPhone flagship.
Digitimes Research senior analyst Luke Lin in his research note cited information from Apple's supply chain that suggested the total manufacturing bill of materials (MBOM) of the 5.8-inch model of the upcoming iPhone range would be more than 10 percent lower than that of the iPhone X, despite it having an OLED display.
This means the upcoming device will cost around 10 percent less to manufacture compared to the current-generation iPhone X.
Lin pointed out that the MBOM of the iPhone X was more than $400 (approximately Rs 26,026) in 2017.
The 10 percent decrease would mean a total reduction of around $40 (or Rs 2,602). This could ultimately result in a slightly cheaper iPhone X successor this year.
The analyst further believes that owing to the reduction in manufacturing costs, Apple could position the 5.85-inch OLED iPhone as the "cheapest model of all three next-generation iPhone models."
According to KGI analyst and Apple insider Ming-Chi Kuo, the Cupertino-giant is set to launch three iPhones this year — a big 6.5-inch OLED model and a 6.1-inch LCD model, alongside the 5.85-inch OLED model that is being speculated to be the iPhone X's successor.
Interestingly, Lin also said in the report that Apple had previously planned to launch a 5.85-inch model with an LCD panel to keep the MBOM in check. However, the project was suspended in mid-February and seems to have been completely scrapped.
The report further claimed Apple purchased fewer OLED panels from Samsung Display than it had earlier committed due to the weak demand for the iPhone X. This resulted in Apple's South Korean panel supplier to "bargain more chips" in its negotiation for manufacturing OLED panels for the upcoming iPhones.
However, Apple is said to have reached an agreement with Samsung Display and secured satisfactory terms that will prevent the panel costs from increasing.
Meanwhile, Apple is also reportedly working on its own MicroLED displays that would consume less power and help reduce the production costs of the iPhone. But there's still no confirmation on when Apple will employ its own displays on its iPhones. The iPhone-maker currently sources OLED panels from Samsung Display for the iPhone X.
Lin said the next 5.85-inch OLED iPhone could be the cheapest of the three upcoming iPhones also because some of the phone's recent engineering samples have adopted components with low-level specifications and lower capacities than those on the bigger 6.5-inch and 6.1-inch models.
A leaked video of a rumored prototype of the upcoming iPhone SE 2 aka iPhone X SE had emerged online not long ago, showing an iPhone SE-based design with an all-screen display similar to the iPhone X.
The purported iPhone SE 2 features an aluminum chassis instead of the stainless steel frame used on the iPhone X. The back also features a vertically aligned dual-camera setup that seems to be inspired by the iPhone X.
It will be interesting to see if the rumored iPhone X SE 2 turns out to be the same iPhone that Lin claimed could be the cheapest of the three iPhones. Then again, it won't be a true successor of the iPhone X.