A report from Korea’s ETNews has outlined a series of claims pointing to dramatic shifts in display technologies for Apple devices. Over the next year, the report says that Apple is expected to redefine its screens for iPhones, iPads, and MacBooks. Here are the reported display trends:

  • iPhones will move to screens larger than 5-inches
  • iPads will be diversified into entry-level and premium models depending on display size. This report reiterates claims of a 12.9/13-inch model
  • iPad mini will gain a higher-resolution display next year
  • OLED displays will be integrated into Apple products, including Apple’s upcoming “iWatch”
  • More power-efficient LED displays for MacBooks
  • Further, the report claims that Apple will continue to use displays from Japan Display, but the company will increase its reliance on both LG and Samsung for screens

Looking at each claim on its own, some make sense, while others do not. The iPhone has long been expected to adopt a larger display in 2014, but the exact screen-size has been unclear. Apple has been testing screen sizes between 4.7-inches and 6-inches, with a reliable analyst recently pointing to a screen size in between 4.5 and 5 inches

The iPad screen-size increase definitely makes sense as Apple moves to diversify its product lines to reach more customers. Several reliable reports have indicated that Apple has a larger iPad in the works with a screen size between 12 and 13-inches. This screen size could be an excellent move for schools, businesses, and would be another attack on the laptop computer market. However, it seems unlikely that Apple would position the smaller screen-sizes as entry-level models. More likely is that the 7.9-inch, 9.7-inch, and 12.9-inch screen sizes will simply be different options much like Apple has several notebook screen size offerings.

The iPad mini has long been rumored to adopt a higher-resolution screen, and we expect the next model to include the same screen resolution (2048 x 1536) as the third and fourth generation full-sized iPads. Recent reports have noted that supplies will be constrained, so it’s unclear if Apple will release the Retina iPad mini this year or early next year.

In terms of OLED displays, there’s definitely evidence for Apple going either way. For one, recent analysis has pinned up the iPhone’s Retina display quality as matching the power-efficient OLED technologies. This could be an important technology as Apple moves into the smaller, wearable device world. On the other hand, Apple CEO Tim Cook noted that OLED does not measure up to Apple’s current display choice.

With Apple moving to make thinner and better-performing laptops, it would make sense for the company to adopt more power efficient displays. The Retina display technology used in the MacBook Pro is notably power-intensive, and it is one of the reasons that the thinner MacBook Air is yet to gain the technology.

Apple working to diversify its display suppliers would line up with past reports. However, it seems that Apple is at least positioning itself to reduce reliance on Samsung for iOS Device parts, so its unclear if Apple will ultimately (as the report claims) move to increase display reliance on its strongest competitor.

While not all are likely, it’s highly plausible that at least a couple of the above claims will turn out to be accurate. 2014 will not only be a major year for Apple products, but also the intricacies of the display supply world.

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13 Responses to “Report claims both likely & unlikely display changes for future Apple devices”

  1. I’m still waiting for a Retina Thunderbolt display. Likely soon? Opinions?


    • Stetson says:

      A 4K Thunderbolt display is possible at this point, I don’t think that would actually qualify as ‘retina’ though.

      4k @ 27″ is about 163ppi, the same as the original iPhone screen. At desk-usage distance that would be pretty nice but I don’t know if Apple would market it as retina.


      • rettun1 says:

        I think distance is a factor in retina. iPad has slightly less density than iPhone but since it’s held father from the eyes you still can’t see each pixel


      • No need to go 27″ with a 4k panel, as Apple will default to HiDPI mode. Assuming a target resolution of at least 1920×1200, Apple would have to deliver at least 3840×2400. This resolution is different from both UHD (3840×2160) and the 4k cinema res of 4096×2160. Let’s call it UHD+.

        A 24″ UHD+ display would mean 189 ppi.

        Now, that seems a bit low for a technical ‘retina’ spec, but if the monitor is defaulting to HiDPI, Apple might still use the ‘retina’ branding.


    • They specifically announced that the New Mac Pro would support three 4K displays at once…I don’t see why they wouldn’t update the Apple TB displays to be 4K. As for the pixel density, who knows…but I think it’s clear that Apple will have a 4K TB display sometime in the near future, most likely around the launch time of the new Mac Pro.


  2. The only way larger screens seem possible to me is for apple to use behind te screen technology, such as speaker, headphone jack etc so the phone / pad would keep the same footprint and still have a larger screen.


  3. Would love to see a 13″ iPad. So many good uses for this. I also don’t mind the bifurcation of iPads into premium and standard models. Low cost models can be used as mounted displays in smart homes and kiosks. There’s no need to have a fire breather here in these circumstances.

    OLED sounds good for small wearable tech. I still think it’s too expensive for larger display applications and there’s still question about the longevity (color fade).

    I’m kind of thinking that we’re going to see a Thunderbolt 2 display that is 3840 x 2160 with USB 3 as well.


  4. The only way I can imagine a larger screen for the iPhone and iPad is if they used behind the screen technology, that is, placing the speaker and headphone jack behind the screen. Increasing the screen size yet keeping the same foot print will be interesting to see how they work it.


    • Apple has already telegraphed their intentions. Auto Layout for dynamic UI based on constraints and new in iOS 7 dynamic text. A company isn’t going to invest in these technologies without having some plan on becoming more flexible with display resolutions.


  5. If the iPhone moves up in screen size and don’t leave the 4″ option as now, I will have to buy backup supplies.
    The iPhone5 is already a huge phone for the pockets.. and if I really like to use both hands to operate it, I take out the iPad.. thank you!


    • Randy Jantz says:

      No kidding, I feel the same way. I love the current size and do not want to walk around with a tablet in my pocket or on my hip. I can only hope that if they do increase the screen size that they at least leave the 4″ screen as an option.


  6. Bob Black says:

    13 inch iPad.. .. $999 for a 16 gig..