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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