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Apple’s Search for iPhone OLED Screens

2016.12.24 20:07 PT

[ Bloomberg ] Pavel Alpeyev and Takashi Amano:

Now OLED is the big goal. The technology has been included on top-end smartphones for years, including almost all of Samsung Electronics Co.’s high-end phones. While LCDs rely on a backlight panel, OLED pixels can glow on their own, resulting in thinner displays, better battery life and improved contrast. OLED screens can also be made on flexible plastic, allowing for a wider variety of shapes and applications.

Better battery life. Let’s talk about that for a minute. Yes, OLED displays can get battery life if the content is on the darker side, things like videos. But if you like white backgrounds on your phone and you’re mostly on non-video apps, then no, OLED displays will get worse battery life than LCDs. Aside from that caveat OLED technology is superior.

John Gruber mentions OLED display’s poor color reproduction:

[…] the thing about this story that has never sat right with me is that OLED displays reproduce colors poorly. Colors look terrible on my Google Pixel, and I don’t think they look good on Apple Watch, either. I’d hate to see a Pixel-caliber display on an iPhone.

Yes, getting colors right on OLED smartphones has been a tricky thing to master for Samsung. But in the last couple of years Samsung has achieved better color accuracy than even the best LCDs. DisplayMate president Raymond Soniera:

The Galaxy S7 matches or breaks new records in smartphone display performance for: Highest Absolute Color Accuracy […]

My guess is Apple’s going OLED for the next iPhone; OLED is superior to LCD in every way. Apple, just make sure to darken the UI a bit.