Apple's iPhone may get new screen, wireless charging next year

The popular smartphone may get a complete makeover in 2017, a year earlier than previously predicted, according to a reliable Apple analyst.

Steven Musil Night Editor / News
Steven Musil is the night news editor at CNET News. He's been hooked on tech since learning BASIC in the late '70s. When not cleaning up after his daughter and son, Steven can be found pedaling around the San Francisco Bay Area. Before joining CNET in 2000, Steven spent 10 years at various Bay Area newspapers.
Expertise I have more than 30 years' experience in journalism in the heart of the Silicon Valley.
Steven Musil
2 min read

A new screen for the iPhone?

Sarah Tew/CNET

Apple may revamp its lineup of iPhones next year to include a new casing, new curved display and wireless charging, according to a reliable analyst.

An iPhone with a glass casing and curved AMOLED screen will debut in 2017, according to a note issued Saturday by Apple analyst Ming-Chi Kuo at KGI Securities. The note, as described by 9to5mac, appears to contradict an earlier report by the analyst that the Cupertino, California-based tech titan wouldn't release an iPhone with new screen technology until 2018.

The new iPhone screen will be based on active matrix organic light-emitting diode, or AMOLED, according to Kuo. AMOLED displays offer several advantages over the LCD (liquid crystal display) screens currently used in iPhones. OLED displays are thinner, lighter and more flexible than LCDs. They're also more power efficient, giving you more bang out of a single battery charge.

An AMOLED screen could put iPhones on a more equal footing with rival Samsung, which already uses the technology in its flagship Galaxy S7. It could also help rejuvenate Apple's slowing iPhone sales. In January, Apple reported little growth in iPhone sales last quarter and an expected downturn in the current quarter.

The new iPhone is expected to sport a curved glass body on the front and back and metal sides, according to the note. The "completely new form factor design" will feature narrow bezels for a "more [comfortable] grip," Kuo wrote.

The new handset is also expected to tap wireless charging, an important shift for the tech industry. Historically, mobile-device owners have been forced to plug their products into a charger to refresh a battery. Wireless charging, however, ditches the cord and allows users to simply rest their device atop a charging pad to add juice.

Apple did not immediately respond to a request for comment on the note.

Kuo's predictions come less than a week after Apple unveiled its iPhone SE, which features a 4-inch screen with all the processing and photographic power as the larger iPhone 6S. Unveiled alongside the new iPhone on Monday was the iPad Pro 9.7, a smaller version of last year's 12.9-inch iPad that sports a new display Apple calls True Tone, which dynamically adjusts color temperature based on ambient light.