Apple may launch OLED iPhone in 2017

Apple iPhone 6s - stylish and beautiful

Apple will finally transition to OLED displays with its 2017 iPhone refresh, according to a new report out of China. Recent rumors suggested we’d have to wait until 2018 for the change, but Apple has reportedly brought its schedule forward for next year’s iPhone 7s and iPhone 7s Plus.

Apple already uses OLED displays in Apple Watch, but they are yet to make their way to any of its other devices. The technology has a number of big advantages over LCD — which Apple currently uses — which makes it ideal for mobile gadgets like the iPhone.

For instance, when displaying darker colors, OLED displays require less power. In fact, total blacks require zero power at all, because black pixels simply do not light up. This is why Apple Watch’s watchOS user interface is much darker than that of iOS.

Perhaps Apple will change that when OLED displays come to iPhone and iPad — and that could happen sooner than anticipated.

Citing sources familiar with Apple’s plans, Nikkei reports that the Cupertino company has been in talks with LG and Samsung to ascertain the viability of ramping up their OLED production in time for next year’s iPhone upgrade.

Apple is said to be specifically interested in flexible OLED displays — like those used in Samsung’s new Galaxy S7 edge — which can conform to curved smartphone designs. However, it’s unclear if Samsung and LG will be able to yield enough flexible displays for 2017.

It’s thought Apple is turning to OLED displays earlier in an effort to boost iPhone sales. Many of its rivals now use OLED displays in their flagship devices, and Samsung’s outperform the iPhone’s every year in tests carried out by the experts at DisplayMate.

Before you get too exciting, though, it’s worth remembering that like all Apple rumors, there’s a chance this one is inaccurate. It’s best you take it with a pinch of salt until Apple confirms its plans for iPhone 7s and iPhone 7s Plus next fall, then.

While it seems plausible that Apple could switch to OLED next year, reliable KGI Securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo, who has a good track record in predicting Apple’s plans, doesn’t expect the iPhone lineup to swap LCD for OLED until 2019 at the earliest.

[Nikkei via AppleInsider]