What's in a screen? For Apple, it may be the key to the next iPhone.
Rumors are circulating that Apple, the Cupertino, California-based tech behemoth, is working out deals with LG and Samsung to use a different type of screen technology in the iPhone. The screens would change to organic light-emitting diode, or OLED, which promises better-quality images when compared with liquid crystal display, a standard that's been used in computers for years. The Electronic Times, a Korean tech publication, wrote about the change, citing unnamed sources.
The move would mark the first substantive change in screen technology for the iPhone since 2010, when Apple released "retina" displays that promised to show so much detail that users wouldn't be able to distinguish what's on the screen from a printed image. Despite that change, Apple has relied on LCD technology since the iPhone's debut in 2007.
An Apple spokeswoman declined to comment. Neither LG nor Samsung immediately responded to a request for comment. Previous stories from Japan's Nikkei and others have also claimed Apple is planning to change its display technology within the next couple of years.
Speculation about the next iPhone's features is a sport in the technology industry. Publications large and small chase down hints of what might come next, be it a slimmer profile or a different size, or a new feature like wireless charging. There have even been rumors about what Apple will remove, such as a headphone jack.
Sometimes the rumors are correct but Apple ultimately delays the feature to a later iteration of the phone. Other times, reporters pick up on preliminary discussions that Apple is having. And sometimes the rumors are just plain wrong.
When it comes to OLED, though, there's reason to both believe and distrust these rumors.
Apple has signaled a distaste for OLED displays in the past, for example. Three years ago, Tim Cook, Apple's CEO, said he considered the technology "awful."
"If you ever buy anything online and really want to know what the color is, as many people do, you should really think twice before you depend on the color from an OLED display," Cook said at the time.
That opinion may have changed however. Since Cook's statements, many of Apple's competitors have switched to OLED displays. Even the Apple Watch, released in April, uses the technology.