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New OLED screens heading to iPhone in 2017, manufacturers see rise in orders

Apple’s hardware suppliers are already prepping themselves for mass production of OLED displays for the 2017 iPhone model.

We’ve not even received an announcement for the next iteration of the iPhone yet – expected to be the iPhone 7 – but the rumors in the run up to the annual refresh this year have been notable by the fact many are for next year’s iPhone.

The latest report comes from Bloomberg, which says there has been a fourfold increase in orders for Applied Materials, which is a company that produces equipment which screen makers will use to make displays for devices. In that regard, it’s no surprise that the companies responsible for making the equipment that other companies use to create parts for another company’s product needs to get in there early.

However, that pipeline is also why the new display tech Apple’s working on won’t be arriving in time for this year. Applied Materials says the machinery needed to make these screens will take a further three quarters before they will be ready to start manufacturing.

Applied Materials’ latest earnings call to investors revealed the company saw $700m in orders in its second quarter of this year, which is four times what they’d usually see in a year. It was also the company’s CEO Gary Dickerson’s words that gave us an idea on who the orders came from.

“It’s not a peak or a one-time event. This is going to be sustainable growth. We all know who is the leader in terms of mobile products.”

So, what are OLED displays? They offer “better power efficiency, contrast, and more saturated colors” when compared with LCD screens. Updating the display tech would provide a range of other benefits, including more efficient power consumption and a thinner – or even curved – display. This means the decision could potentially pave the way for a thinner, slicker iPhone with longer battery life.

Back to this year, Apple is expected to announce the iPhone 7 this fall. Find out what we’re likely to see in the next device.