Up to this point, the iPhone lineup has used an LCD panel for its displays. But Apple isn’t completely against OLED.
That fact was proven back when the Apple Watch launched, which uses an OLED panel. And if the Rumor Mill is any indicator, Apple plans on making a bigger adoption of the technology at some point down the road. According to a report from Nikkei Asian Review, Samsung, one of Apple’s suppliers, is ramping up producing of its OLED panels and Apple has apparently signaled to suppliers that it plans for a “partial 2017 release” of an OLED iPhone — something that was originally rumored to happen in 2018.
However, rumors have certainly picked up steam that the 2017 iPhone will see a major overhaul in its design, technology, and features, with Apple leaving the iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus to carry the weight of a year where there won’t be many upgrades or changes.
In a separate report, Sharp is said to be shipping OLED panels to its customers before the end of 2017 as well. Foxconn is Apple’s biggest supplier and it owns Sharp, so the connection is there, and coupled with the rest of the rumors regarding Apple’s future, but unconfirmed plans, certainly seems to line up.
One interesting element from the “partial 2017 release” suggestion is that Apple may not use an OLED display, or an all-glass design, with the 4.7-inch iPhone in 2017. Instead, some rumors have suggested Apple could keep the major redesign, with OLED and an all-glass frame, to the larger 5.5-inch variant. Apple has had different elements to help differentiate its flagship devices, specifically with features like the display and camera, but if this is indeed true, it would mean the biggest difference between new flagships to date.
Going further, the discoveries that have been made within iOS 10, the upcoming mobile OS variant for iOS devices, that show a Dark Mode is indeed available suggest that Apple is well beyond the planning stages of launching another OLED-equipped device.