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The Apple rumor that just won't die

Will the company use AMOLEDs in the next version of the iPhone? Apple's not saying, but everyone else seems to have an opinion.

An Apple rumor a day keeps a slow news day away. Right? Though idle chit chat about tech's most gossiped-about company pops up all the time, they tend to be quashed or talked to death before another one comes along that's juicier. One recent rumor is still floating around the Web.

Sometimes the rumors are generated by simply making logical leaps, as in Wednesday's Apple-will-use-Atom-processors yarn, which my colleague Tom Krazit flatly dismisses. Other times, they're based on rumors overheard in Asia, like last week when Gartner's Ken Dulaneysaid he heard that Apple has ordered 10 million 3G iPhone units that will carry AMOLED (active matrix organic light-emitting diode) displays. Using those screens would allow Apple to make thinner phones that consume less power.

Gadget blog Gizmodo took exception to Dulaney's prediction, writing that OLED displays are too expensive, not as good as LCD screens in direct sunlight, and that Apple won't use an unproven technology.

That was last week. Now DisplaySearch is weighing in. Analyst Barry Young, who follows the AMOLED industry, says both are wrong--kind of.

Young points out that Samsung SDI is the only mass producer of AMOLEDs, and their maximum output is around 4 million units, which doesn't jive with the 10 million figure Dulaney gives. But he also disagrees with Gizmodo's assessment of AMOLEDs' performance, and points out that Apple has no problem using higher-end components and that the costs are already coming down since LG, Samsung, iRiver, Sharp, Sony Ericsson, and others are already incorporating the technology into their handheld devices.

So while neither is completely right, Young says that he knows Apple and Samsung SDI are at least talking to each other, so if anything, Dulaney may have just jumped the gun a bit. But it seems like this rumor just won't go away.

Bottom line, Apple is secretive. Until then, we can only speculate.