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Apple’s curved OLED iPhone 8 will probably be impossible to find next year

Published Dec 22nd, 2016 8:51AM EST

As successive iPhone models have become increasingly thin and jam-packed with any number of advanced components, the iPhone manufacturing process itself has become much more complex. While Apple’s manufacturing partners typically do a dutiful job of coming up with new machining tools while refining existing manufacturing processes, every new iPhone release is nonetheless plagued by a shortfall of supply on account of the time it takes to truly perfect the manufacturing process on a new device.

With the iPhone 8 looming on the horizon, next year will likely usher in the most advanced and intricately designed iPhone we’ve ever seen. According to reports, Apple’s high-end iPhone 8 model will feature an edgeless design along with a curved OLED display.

Taking a closer look at where Apple’s rumored OLED panels are going to come from, Bloomberg recently profiled Canon Tokki, the company responsible for manufacturing the machines capable of churning out OLED panels at scale. The piece is particularly interesting as it reveals that the world’s supply of OLED panels is directly impacted by how many of these advanced machines Canon Tokki can manufacture in a given year.

To that end, Apple’s high-end iPhone 8 model might be in unusually short supply next year given that Canon Tokki is already struggling to keep up with demand for its advanced machines, which when fully operational, occupy an impressive 328 feet on the production line.

The potential production bottleneck is raising questions over Apple’s ability to feature OLED displays in next year’s iPhones, and whether the Cupertino, California-based company will be able to line up additional suppliers. The current wait for a machine, which can cost more than 10 billion yen ($85 million) each, is about two years.

In the meantime, Canon Tokki CEO Teruhisa Tsugami told Bloomberg that the company is “doing all we can to increase output and make the wait shorter” and that demand for new machinery from Samsung, LG and Sharp will likely remain strong over the next few years.

While there are other companies that do what Canon Tokki does, the company’s technology is so far advanced that the yields on its machines are much higher than what their competition is able to bring to the table. Interestingly, the report notes that Canon Tokki has been developing and perfecting its machines for more than two decades now.

The full profile on Canon Tokki’s OLED business is altogether fascinating and is well worth checking out in its entirety via the source link below.

Yoni Heisler Contributor

Yoni Heisler has been writing about Apple and the tech industry at large for over 15 years. A life long Mac user and Apple expert, his writing has appeared in Edible Apple, Network World, MacLife, Macworld UK, and TUAW. When not analyzing the latest happenings with Apple, Yoni enjoys catching Improv shows in Chicago, playing soccer, and cultivating new TV show addictions.