Apple plans to ship the first iPhone with an OLED display as early as next year, according to a report from the Chinese branch of the Asian news organization Nikkei.
The report, which was picked up by multiple U.S. news outlets, indicates Apple made inquiries late last year to display providers LG and Samsung to determine when they could ramp up production of OLED displays for the iPhone. Apple was widely expected to move from LCD to OLED in the next few years, but is ahead of schedule and is said to be in talks with both LG and Samsung in a deal estimated to be worth $12 billion.
Ditching LCD in favor of OLED could provide several benefits for Apple. The technology could be used to make thinner, more flexible displays with curves rather than straight lines with right angles. OLED also requires less power than LCD, boosting battery life, and it supports more vivid colors.
The move could provide a bit of a boost for Apple, which is struggling as the growth of smartphone sales flattens in the mature markets where the iPhone has thrived. Analysts expect iPhone sales to fall for the first time during the first quarter of 2016, and Morgan Stanley's Katy Huberty predicted in December that sales of the iconic handset will shrink by 3 percent this year.
Carriers and retailers are showing depleted stocks of the iPhone 5s, however, in advance of the expected announcement of a 4-inch iPhone SE later this month, as 9 to 5 Mac reported. The site said Verizon, AT&T, Best Buy, Walmart and Target all show limited or no availability of the handset online in an apparent move to clear inventories before a new Apple handset arrives.
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