Technology Apple Inc.
The iPhone 8—or whatever it winds up being named—drops later this year, but the endless churn of tech innovation and product development means that its successor, which we're calling the iPhone 9, is already starting to shape up.
The next-gen phone's supply chain could be coming together now, even if it won't be revealed for more than a year. The latest rumors claim that Apple has found a source for its batteries, which adds another big name to the iPhone 9's list of associated parties.
LG will be the sole supplier of the iPhone 9's L-shaped batteries, according to reports from South Korean publications Chosun (English version here) and Korea Economic Daily, the latter of which was spotted by AppleInsider. Both publications cite unnamed sources in their reports.
The batteries will be produced by LG Chem, a branch of the South Korean conglomerate. The Korea Economic Daily's source claims the company has invested "hundreds of billions" of South Korean won into battery manufacturing facilities to prepare for full-scale production at the start of 2018.
The iPhone 9 will purportedly adopt the stacked, L-shaped battery design revealed earlier this year by reliable Apple source KGI Security analyst Ming-Chi Kuo, which could create extra space within the phone's interior for an extra-efficient power unit while leaving room for other internal features.
LG has its own line of phones, but it has been an Apple supplier in the past. Chosun notes the South Korean company has been a source for batteries before, and LG Display produced many of the iPhone's LCD displays. The news of LG taking on the role of a "sole supplier" is a new wrinkle in the relationship, however, since Apple typically depends on multiple companies for iPhone parts.
But the company could be shifting its strategy. We've already heard that the iPhone 8's rumored shift to OLED displays will be exclusively supplied by major rival Samsung, an agreement that could carry over to 2018, when all the phones in Apple's line are rumored to adopt the new screens — unless LG is tapped as another source for them. Samsung is also rumored to be the source for the iPhone 9's chips.
Apple might be embracing a new gameplan with its smartphone rivals to source out the parts for its top of the line phones, but it's important to note that at the end of the day, these are all rumors until we can confirm from the company itself. Apple doesn't like to share any of its secrets, so we'll have to wait until 2018 — and another journey through the rumor-riddled development cycle — to know for sure what's inside the iPhone 9.
Technology Apple Inc.