Earlier today, A DigiTimes rumor popped up that suggested that not only is Apple planning on launching an iPhone with an OLED display, but that the screen will be measured in at 5.8 inches. The report does line up with previous rumors, as they’ve piled on recently, so by itself it’s not that big of a surprise. Though, with a 5.8-inch display, it’d be the biggest smartphone Apple’s released.
DisplayMate’s Ray Soneira speculates that Apple could be planning to implement “folded edge side screens” on a future iOS device using a flexible OLED display. Such a display would fully eliminate side bezels on the iPhone and would also perhaps implement special buttons or gestures that could be used to control functions on the iPhone using the sides of the device.
What that actually means for Apple is anyone’s guess. What it means in relation to other manufacturers that have used this type of display, though, including Samsung with its Galaxy S7 edge, are new controls and gestures, or even new ways to see displayed information.
However, Soneira outlines that he doesn’t believe Apple will essentially “copy” Samsung, but instead do something a bit different, as the company outlined in a patent application back in 2011. With that application, Apple outlined a curved display that would take advantage of the extra display real estate to offer buttons for controlling things like music playback, volume, and more.
OLED displays also offer better color accuracy, image contrast, and screen uniformity, and Soneira believes in the near future, OLED products will be foldable and flexible for applications described in Apple’s patents.
Because of their very flexible power management capabilities, OLEDs are not only more power efficient than LCDs for most image content, but they now deliver much higher peak Brightness than LCDs because of this. However, for mostly all white screen content LCDs are likely to remain brighter and more power efficient for a while. OLED displays can also be manufactured on flexible substrates, which allows the screens to be curved and rounded like on Samsung’s Galaxy Edge and Galaxy Round displays. Right now the curved flexible OLED displays are protected under rigid glass, but in the near future OLED products will be foldable and flexible.
It remains to be seen what Apple’s actually planning, of course, and using patent applications to gauge where Apple’s intentions lie for future plans isn’t a guarantee by any means. But, flexible displays are certainly becoming more common, so it’s not impossible that Apple would have plans to launch something in the future.
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