Every other year, Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) fundamentally revamps the display technology that it includes in its iPhones. The company prides itself in having some of the best, if not the best, mobile displays in the industry, so whenever it comes time for a new iPhone display, it's hard not to get excited.
The following are some predictions about the new technologies and features that Apple will bring to its next-generation iPhone displays.
No. 1: Variable refresh rate
One technology that Apple is bringing to its iPad Pro is the ability to vary the rate at which the screen updates itself based on what content is being displayed. This means that if the user is, say, watching a full-screen video running at 30 frames per second, then the display will only update itself 30 times per second, matching the speed at which the content updates.
Apple says that this was included in the iPad Pro in order to boost energy efficiency. Given that it recently made the batteries inside the iPhone 6s/6s Plus smaller than those found in the 6/6 Plus to accommodate Force Touch and the Taptic Engine and that the iPhone 7/7 Plus are expected to be thinner and lighter than the iPhone 6s/6s Plus (meaning that battery size won't increase), it seems natural to try to find ways to cut down on power consumption.
No. 2: Dramatic increase in contrast ratio
The iPhone 7/7 Plus will likely launch in the fall of 2016. Many of Apple's competitors in the Android space are moving toward displays that use OLEDs, a technology that -- by virtue of its perfect black levels -- delivers "infinite" contrast ratios to the viewer.
DigiTimes says that Apple will not use OLED-based displays in 2016 (though a transition to displays using this technology is not out of the question for 2017, per the report), which means that Apple will need to do some pretty serious engineering work along with its display manufacturing partners to deliver LCDs with much improved contrast ratios.
The current iPhone 6s/6s Plus displays already deliver very high 1400:1 and 1300:1 typical contrast ratios according to Apple. DisplayMate actually measured "true" contrast ratios of 1591:1 and 1451:1 for the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus, respectively.
I believe that Apple will introduce another large jump in contrast ratios with the iPhone 7/7 Plus before this value becomes "infinite" in future generations (as the company likely transitions to OLEDs).
No. 3: Big reduction in reflectance
One feature that Apple brought to both the iPad Air 2 and the iPad mini 4 is an anti-reflective coating. This, according to DisplayMate's Raymond Soneira, means that these two tablets have the lowest screen reflectance that he's measured.
According to Soneira, a low reflectance level has a pretty meaningful impact on image quality, noting that ambient light "washes out and degrades the displayed images and reduces screen readability."
This leads him to believe that Apple will bring this technology to the next generation of iPhones. Given that this technology leads to an improved user experience and that Apple has already invested the time and effort to develop this technology, it only seems natural for the company to leverage it in the iPhone.