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Forget OLED – Apple's reportedly already working on the next generation of display tech

Apple is probably embracing a brand new display for the next version of the iPhone – but even before the switch is officially made, the company could be experimenting with the next generation of display tech.

The most consistent rumor about the upcoming iPhone 8 is that Apple will shift from LCD displays, which have been used for every iPhone until now, to OLED screens. OLED is brighter than LCD, with better color reproduction and improved contrast while requiring less energy and no backlight, making the screen thinner. Samsung, which uses an OLED screen in the Galaxy S8, has signed on to supply the OLED displays to Apple, so there's more than just speculation behind the rumor.

But Apple isn't content to rest easy with OLED, according to a Digitimes report picked up by 9to5 Mac. The Chinese publication, which has a spotty rep for leaks, claims the iPhone maker is already experimenting with a new display technology: microLED. The next-gen screens are said to be brighter and more efficient than both OLED and LCD displays, making them an attractive potential for future devices.

SEE ALSO: iPhone 9 rumors are here, and there's nothing you can do to stop them

Apple is "likely to crank out a small volume of microLED display products," according to the report. That would most likely from a location in northern Taiwan, where the company is rumored to have a secret facility dedicated to work on display tech.

While Digitimes isn't always the most reliable source, multiple other reports share the same news, including this one from the Tapei Times, which cites IDC analyst Annabelle Hsu rather than anonymous supply chain leaks. Hsu told the publication that Apple was likely looking to turn to microLED for more flexible displays, but the tech wouldn't likely be commercially viable until 2020.

These reports are far from the first time Apple has been linked with the next-gen display tech. The iPhone maker acquired LuxVue, a microLED developer, back in 2014. The LuxVue displays are purportedly nine times brighter than current phone screens, with lower power demands and the ability to fit in curved designs.

This was pre-Apple Watch, and the smart money then was on the tech being used for the wearable's display. That didn't come to pass, as the company went with OLED for the screen — the smart money was also calling it the iWatch and imagined it would look like this, so it wasn't all that smart — but the new report could reignite the theory.

Since none of these reports can be confirmed, we can't be sure when or even if the microLED screens will make it onto your wrist in a future version of the Apple Watch. Given all the noise, though, microLED is probably coming — so get ready for a future filled with even brighter displays.

© 2014-2023 by Smart Group LLC.

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