Apple expects its budget iPhone to be the most popular 2018 model

iPhone X

Apple is expecting its cheaper 6.1-inch, LCD iPhone to be the big seller when it unveils three new phones in September, according to sources, with fewer punters opting for the premium, OLED-based handsets being produced to succeed the iPhone X.

The Wall Street Journal has the scoop on Apple's plans, corroborating rumors we've heard up until this point that three new iPhones are on the way in a few months' time – 5.8-inch and 6.5-inch OLED devices, and a 6.1-inch LCD device. Apparently Apple is now ordering a lot more LCD screens than previously predicted.

That suggests Apple anticipates the LCD version to win out in terms of sales. Last year's iPhone X was the first one made by the company to go for the OLED tech, with all previous models (and the iPhone 8 and iPhone 8 Plus) sticking with LCD.

What's in a screen?

OLED typically offers better contrast and brighter colors than LCD, though manufacturers use a variety of tricks to minimize the differences between the two. What's certain is that OLED panels are more expensive to produce – hence the hefty iPhone X price tag.

The 5.8-inch OLED iPhone will directly replace the iPhone X, according to reports. The 6.5-inch OLED iPhone will be a premium "plus" model, and the 6.1-inch LCD iPhone is set to be a cheaper option: it'll look the same (with the display notch), but the LCD tech and other cost-saving measures (like not including 3D Touch) will keep the price down.

Apple may well keep last year's iPhone 8 and iPhone 8 Plus phones on sale as well, which might partially explain the ramp up in demand for LCD screens. However, it does seem that Apple isn't expecting its top-end 2018 iPhone to shift the most units.

David Nield
Freelance Contributor

Dave is a freelance tech journalist who has been writing about gadgets, apps and the web for more than two decades. Based out of Stockport, England, on TechRadar you'll find him covering news, features and reviews, particularly for phones, tablets and wearables. Working to ensure our breaking news coverage is the best in the business over weekends, David also has bylines at Gizmodo, T3, PopSci and a few other places besides, as well as being many years editing the likes of PC Explorer and The Hardware Handbook.