Apple Loop: New iPhone 7S Leaks, Disappointing iPhone 8 Delay, Microsoft Surface Vs MacBook Pro – Forbes

Taking a look back at another week of news from Cupertino, this week’s Apple Loop includes which new iPhone will get an OLED screen, production issues with the iPhone 8, more details on the iPhone 7S, discounts on the MacBook Pro, Apple’s role as Silicon Vally’s kingmaker, changes to App Store affiliate income, and thoughts on Surface vs Mac

Apple Loop is here to remind you of a few of the very many discussions that have happened around Apple over the last seven days (and you can read my weekly digest of Android news here on Forbes).

How Many iPhones Will Sport OLED?

The iPhone 8 is expected to make the jump to OLED and finally achieve screen parity with Android’s flagship handsets. The recent numbers coming out of the supply chain point to Apple’s expected success with the vivid screen technology, but is there a twist hidden in the figures? Forbes’ Brooke Crothers reports:

Often referred to generically as the “iPhone 8″ or “10th Anniversary iPhone,” optimism about the supply of OLED displays prompted Morgan Stanley to revise its forecast because of a “higher than expected iPhone 7 Plus mix” and better “supply chain clarity” on OLED display supply to Apple, the investment bank said in a research note to investors this past week.

…basically half of the upcoming iPhone model mix could be OLED. “With an expected (second half 2017) total iPhone production plan of 100-110M, this suggests OLED could be closer to 50% mix, versus our prior conservative assumption of 33%,” Morgan Stanley said.

The question now is what changed in the mix. Will the iPhone 8 sell even more handsets than expected, or are the iPhone 7S and 7S plus handsets picking up OLED? More here on Forbes, but it looks like the latter may have more potential.

Apple iPhone 7 (image: Ewan Spence)

Ewan Spence

Apple iPhone 7 (image: Ewan Spence)

A Delay To The iPhone 8

One question that will have an impact on the OLED order is when the iPhone 8 will arrive. There is already  talk of a delay in production, and this has been backup with more details from KGI Securities analysis Ming-Chi Kuo. The iPhone 8 may not enter production until November. Neil Hughes reports:

The KGI Securities analyst issued a note on Monday… cautioning that production ramp of the so-called “iPhone 8” could begin as late as October or November. That would be later than the usual August-September timeframe for a new flagship iPhone. Kuo said the potential delays could come about because of production difficulty. He warned investors that “severe supply shortages” could persist for awhile, which would cap total shipments of new iPhones in the second half of 2017.

In fact, this year’s “iPhone 8″ launch could further be compounded by the fact that other handsets are also expected to utilize edge-to-edge OLED displays. Kuo said he believes seamless, large screens will become a major selling point for high-end smartphones, which could leave legacy LCD-based designs in the dust.

Apple Insider has more on the iPhone 8 supply issues. Meanwhile Forbes’ Gordon Kelly sums up more production issues, including problems with wireless charging and the printed circuit board:

Breaking these down, Nikkei says Samsung is struggling to supply the OLED panels Apple will use in its new flagship iPhone while it quotes Arthur Liao of Taipei-based Fubon Securities as saying Apple is struggling with overcome overheating with its wireless charging modules. Lastly it cites IDC analyst Sean Kao as revealing there are problems with the mass production of the model’s circuit boards.

Apple’s Safety Net

Every September Apple has a launch event and 2017 will not be an exception. But if the iPhone 8 is facing production difficulties, what can Apple show? Nothing? The iPhone 8 with a ‘not available for ten weeks’ sticker? A refreshed MacBook Pro? I think the answer is simple. The iPhone 7S gets promoted to hero handset status:

What if the plan is not to match up the 7S, 7S Plus, and the 8? What if the plan is to hold back the iPhone 8 because of production issues until a later date and put all the focus on the iPhone 7S family? That would explain the suggestions of OLED displays going into the same handset design that was debuted in 2016 on the iPhone 6. It would mean that the speed and efficiency improvements to be found in the new A11 system on chip can be the focus of the event. Updates to software such as the camera and increased integration with iCloud could be promoted.

More thoughts on this issue from myself here on Forbes.

Macbook, March 2015 (image: Apple PR)

Apple PR

Macbook, March 2015 (image: Apple PR)

Should You Ignore The Surface vs Mac Fight?

The Microsoft Surface computers should not be compared to Apple’s machines, argues Daniel Dilger.I’d point out that Microsoft’s strategy is focused far more on the cloud and providing software to third-party manufacturers that creating a massive margin hardware business. Compare that to Apple selling its own hardware exclusively in great volumes and the two different business models are clear. Still, it’s a piece to challenge opinions:

Despite pronouncements that it was “in for the long haul” with Zune, Microsoft terminated the effort in 2012 after six years of trying. Surface RT was discontinued after four years, while Lumia was dumped after two years of Microsoft buying it. KIN didn’t last two months.

Microsoft also began selling an Intel x86-powered hybrid PC tablet branded as Surface Pro, which has survived. Now in its fourth generation, the Surface Pro has been paired with an even more expensive Surface Book notebook and a convertible huge-tablet/desktop PC called Surface Studio. Reviews have been more than kind.

In fact, Microsoft’s ability to create new form factors has kicked off a torrent of media praise that, similar to Samsung’s, is mostly appreciative of the excitement value provided by its efforts rather than its potential for commercial success.

More at Apple Insider.

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