Looks like Apple is not yet ready to bid farewell to LCD. A new report fresh from Japan is claiming that the Cupertino giant is in the process of developing a 6.1-inch handset with LCD screen. This is in spite of Apple’s decision to move forward with OLED screens for its flagship handsets.

On Wednesday, Nikkei learned from a source with knowledge on Apple’s plans that the tech giant is releasing a more affordable iPhone model next year. The device is expected to cost less than the iPhone X successor, for it is sporting a liquid crystal display. 

Nikkei’s source further divulged that Apple is outfitting the LCD model with a metal back case — the same one used on the iPhone 7 and the iPhone 7 Plus. “The 6.1-inch LCD model will likely sport a metal back [like older iPhone handsets] and will come in several colors,” the source was quoted as saying. 

The same source revealed that Pegatron subsidiary Casetek could become the supplier of the metal backs for the 6.1-inch iPhone units. Casetek currently supplies Apple with LCD screens for its iPads, so it could also be tapped by Apple to supply the new iPhone model with LCD panels. 

A different source disclosed that Casetek is already trying out new casings for the LCD model in hopes that it would be chosen to supply the back case for the 6.1-inch iPhone. Pegatron is currently the assembler of the iPhone 8, so both Casetek and Pegatron are hoping that Apple would ask them to integrate the services they offer for iPhone orders in 2018.

Apple is also rumored to be launching two other iPhone moels next year. Nikkei has learned that for these two handsets, Apple has chosen to use OLED screens. One model is believed to feature a 5.8-inch display, while the other model is expected to be a larger variant with a 6.2 or 6.3-inch screen.

MacRumors pointed out that Nikkei’s report is, for the most part, in line with what KGI Securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo predicted for the 2018 lineup of iPhones. The only difference is Kuo’s prediction that the largest model for 2018 would come with a 6.5-inch OLED display, and it could be given the moniker of “iPhone X Plus.”

NIkkei’s report does not mention the design of the phones’ front panel. Kuo, however, stated that all three 2018 models would debut with full-screen, edge-to-edge displays and the TrueDepth camera system that’s currently featured on the 10th anniversary iPhone. 

Kuo has also claimed that the 6.1-inch iPhone would come with a lower-resolution display. This of course explains why the device is rumored to be a low-cost entry built for low-end and midrange markets. 

As per usual, Apple is pretty mum in the wake of emerging rumors about its future iPhones. It would be a shocker if the tech giant confirmed or denied any of the rumored specs or features of the 2018 lineup at this point. So it’s best to take all these rumors with a grain of salt. 

iPhone Apple is reportedly working on a 6.1-inch LCD iPhone that’s scheduled for release in 2018. Photo: Reuters/Lucas Jackson