Your next iPhone could use a microLED display — what it means for you

The Dynamic Island on an iPhone 14 Pro Max
(Image credit: Tom's Guide)

A future iPhone could use a new type of microLED display says DigiTimes, citing a Korean government report that predicts the impact that Apple will have on the country's display industry.

This report claims that similar to how Apple has cultivated its own family of chipsets (the A series and M series), it'll do the same with screens for its devices, impacting the performance of Korean display makers like LG and Samsung. Fortunately for the Korean economy, the report also predicts Apple will rely on Korean-made displays as it ramps up production of its new LG at least in part for its new microLED displays, and likely commission its existing Korean partners to help build them.

These microLED displays will apparently offer increased brightness, greater efficiency and improved image contrast, all things we want from our mobile devices' panels.

Long and longer waits

iPad Pro 2022

The 12.9-inch iPad Pro 2022, one of Apple's devices using its latest miniLED display technology.  (Image credit: Tom's Guide)

While Apple and its supply chain are considering what the impact of microLED displays will be, the products you and I can actually buy right now are several steps behind on Apple's display upgrade track.

You'll currently find Apple's latest mini-LED displays on the 14-inch and 16-inch MacBook Pro, as well as the 12.9-inch iPad Pro. The iPhone 14 series, Apple Watch 8 and Apple Watch Ultra meanwhile use OLED, with the iPhone 15 series and Apple Watch 9 also rumored to use the same displays again. 

We'll supposedly see the Apple Watch Ultra 2 move to a microLED first, either by the end of 2024 or in 2025. The iPhone and iPad will then join the fun later, though the report doesn't say how big a gap there will be between Apple debuting the technology and applying it to its biggest-selling devices.

Some of Apple's products are still on older LCD panels, like the majority of iPads, the MacBook Air and the iPhone SE. We don't expect these to skip OLED to move straight to mini-LED or microLED, so it could be even longer before these models get this technology.

The displays on the iPhone 14 Pro and iPhone 14 Pro Max are some of the best in the business (although the Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra has our current favorite smartphone panel). But as technology moves on, it's only logical for Apple to change up features that right now seem perfectly good, especially when it's in close competition with rivals like Samsung for the flagship end of the smartphone market.

Like we mentioned before though, don't expect microLED (or even mini-LED) displays on the iPhone 15 series. Fortunately, rumored upgrades we can apparently get excited for include a new "action button" to replace the mute slider, USB-C ports for faster charging and data transfer, and a more powerful telephoto camera zoom for the iPhone 15 Pro Max when the line-up debuts, which will presumably be this September.

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Richard Priday
Assistant Phones Editor

Richard is based in London, covering news, reviews and how-tos for phones, tablets, gaming, and whatever else people need advice on. Following on from his MA in Magazine Journalism at the University of Sheffield, he's also written for WIRED U.K., The Register and Creative Bloq. When not at work, he's likely thinking about how to brew the perfect cup of specialty coffee.