Saturday, November 28, 2015

Apple reportedly switching to OLED iPhone screens in 2018

And then they'll claim it's revolutionary, even when Samsung has been using it for years.

Apple has always used LCD display technology in the iPhone, but reports are now claiming the technology giant is planning a switch to OLED screens. Apple is reportedly meeting with suppliers to lay the groundwork for the switch, which could happen in 2018. That would be the iPhone 8 generation.

The current iPhone 6s Plus has a 1080p LCD, the highest among Apple’s smartphones. Android devices have moved to 2560 x 1440 LCDs in some cases, but these panels tend to be noticeably dimmer and use more power than lower resolution screens. OLED displays have the advantage here as the light is produced by the pixels themselves rather than a backlight.

An iPhone with an OLED screen would have several improvements compared to today’s LCD iPhones. The colors would be much more vibrant, for example. OLEDs also have perfect black levels and contrast because black pixels are simply off. This could allow for improved battery life in dark interfaces. OLED panels are flexible too, which has allowed Samsung and LG to sell curved

The problem (and the reason Apple is said to be meeting with suppliers so early) is that Samsung is the only company that can produce OLED panels in significant volume. All of its high-end phones have Super AMOLED screens, which are the best displays available on a phone right now. LG is expected to expand production of OLEDs, which it has used on a handful of phones so far. Japanese display makers JD and Sharp might see their orders from Apple fall as Samsung and LG start supplying Cupertino with AMOLEDs.

Apple ships more than 200 million iPhones every year. We might see a situation where some variants of the iPhone come with OLED panels and cheaper ones still use LCD. They’ve got a few years to work out the details anyway.


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