Apple may be phasing out LCD displays from its iPhone lineup as soon as next year amid lackluster demand for the iPhone XR, according to a report.
The iPhone XR, which features a 6.1-inch LCD display, was the sole LCD model introduced by Apple in the fall 2018 iPhone launch. The other two 2018 models, the iPhone XS and iPhone XS Max, both feature OLED displays that aim to offer more vibrant colors.
Sub-par iPhone sales have led Apple to slash its revenue guidance for its fiscal 2019 first quarter, ended 29 December, to US$84 billion. That's down from a previous range of between US$89 billion and US$93 billion.
Apple has been offering rare special incentives for buying the iPhone XR, and a recent report indicated that Apple has reduced its iPhone XR pricing by US$100 for channel partners in China.
"It has been Apple's pricing hubris on iPhone XR that was the major factor in the company's December earnings debacle," wrote Daniel Ives, managing director for equity research at Wedbush Securities, in a note to investors earlier this month.
A report from the Wall Street Journal on Tuesday says that Apple is now "likely" to only release OLED iPhone models in 2020, cutting LCD models entirely from the lineup.
Apple did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Presumably, the 2019 iPhone lineup will still include a model using an LCD display, which costs less than OLED and was the standard for iPhone displays until the launch of the iPhone X in 2017.
Along with worse-than-expected iPhone demand from China, factors affecting iPhone sales have included "consumers adapting to a world with fewer carrier subsidies, US dollar strength-related price increases, and some customers taking advantage of significantly reduced pricing for iPhone battery replacements," Apple boss Tim Cook wrote in a letter to shareholders earlier this month.
As for the pricing cuts to iPhone for channel partners in China, there's no indication that pricing reductions are coming to the U.S. channel.
"So far we haven’t seen any price discounts here in the U.S. through distribution," said Marco Nielsen, vice president of managed mobility services at Norcross, Ga.-based Stratix, in an email to CRN. "The U.S. is still their strongest market, so my gut feeling is that they wouldn’t need to do that here."