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Apple insider explains the curious case of the iPhone 8’s curved OLED display

Published Nov 17th, 2016 1:42PM EST

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The iPhone 8 is still almost a year away, but we have plenty of reports detailing some of its most notable features. Apple is expected to release a radically redesigned iPhone 8 next year, which will be available in OLED and LCD flavors when it comes to display tech. But we’re a bit confused about the size of the 2017 iPhones. Some reports claim that the iPhone 8 will be available in the same 4.7-inch and 5.5-inch versions that Apple used for three years in a row now. Others mention different screen sizes, including 5-inch and 5.8-inch screens for the upcoming iPhone.

So what’s the deal with the iPhone 8’s screen sizes? One Apple insider with an impeccable track record has finally offered us a very simple explanation.

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A few days ago, KGI Securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo said that Apple will launch three new iPhones next year: a 4.7-inch LCD iPhone 8, a 5.5-inch LCD iPhone 8 Plus model, and an OLED iPhone, which we assumed will also sport a 5.5-inch screen. The OLED iPhone and the LCD Plus model are also expected to share the same dual lens rear camera design, which is another hint that the OLED iPhone might be bigger in size to accommodate the bigger camera components.

However, Kuo returned with a second report to explain the size of the OLED iPhone 8. The researcher said the phone will have a 5.8-inch OLED display, but with a smaller actual active display area of between 5.1 and 5.2 inches.

How is that possible? Well, the premium OLED iPhone 8 is expected to feature a curved screen. The diagonal length of the display might indeed measure 5.8 inches, but the flat portion that will cover most of the front side of the phone could come in at up to 5.2 inches.

“We predict OLED iPhone will be 5.1-5.2”, despite various market speculation,” Kuo said in the research note, according to MacRumors. “In terms of the display size of the OLED iPhone, current information from the upstream points to 5.8”, while that from the downstream points to 5”, which does not conflict, in our view. We predict OLED iPhone will adopt a 5.7-5.8” flexible OLED panel (with Samsung (KR) as the exclusive supplier). Nonetheless, for ‘specific design purposes’, the actual active area may be around 5.1-5.2”. Other than the OLED model, we expect Apple to launch new 4.7” and 5.5” TFT-LCD iPhone models.”

That said, don’t be surprised to hear contradicting reports about the iPhone 8’s OLED screen size. We still have a long way to go until September 2017 rolls around.

Chris Smith Senior Writer

Chris Smith has been covering consumer electronics ever since the iPhone revolutionized the industry in 2008. When he’s not writing about the most recent tech news for BGR, he brings his entertainment expertise to Marvel’s Cinematic Universe and other blockbuster franchises.

Outside of work, you’ll catch him streaming almost every new movie and TV show release as soon as it's available.