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OLED iPhone Could Arrive in 2017

Apple's iPhone has evolved significantly over the years, adding neat camera features and useful interface upgrades, but the smartphone's display has more or less remained unaltered. That could all change soon, as the Cupertino tech giant is rumored to be switching to extra-sharp OLED screens for its next generation of iPhones.

According to a report from Reuters citing the South Korean business publication the Electronic Times, LG and Samsung will supply Apple with the OLED displays. It's unclear whether the technology will debut on the upcoming iPhone 7. Although a previous rumor from Japan suggested that the first OLED-based iPhone wouldn't debut until 2018, a recent Nikkei Business Publications report estimates a 2017 arrival.

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So why does Apple seem ready to make the switch? OLED displays are slimmer and more vibrant than standard LCD screens, which could result in future iPhones that feature even thinner designs and sharper picture quality. Embracing OLED would also allow Apple to catch up to rival (and parts supplier) Samsung; when we placed the iPhone 6s and Galaxy S6 side-by-side, we found that the S6's AMOLED display offered far better contrast and detail.

While using OLED screens seems like a no-brainer for Apple, a separate rumor suggests that the company might go in a different direction. Apple is reportedly opening a new facility in Taiwan for developing Interferometric Modulator Displays (IMOD), which use reflections to save battery power and remain highly viewable under sunlight.

Whichever next-generation display tech Apple decides to use for the next iPhone, the company seems set on making its future handsets thinner and more vibrant than ever. The iPhone 7 is expected to debut in late 2016, although Apple is rumored to be planning to debut a 4-inch, iPhone 5s-inspired handset sometime before then.