While many are still waiting for Apple to officially announce the iPhone 7 this fall, some have already turned their attention to what the company has up its sleeve for next year’s iPhone. According to a report from Bloomberg, suppliers are already preparing to mass produce OLED displays for next year’s flagship device.
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The report notes that Applied Materials Inc. has seen a fourfold increase in orders ahead of next year’s unveiling. Applied Materials is responsible for producing the equipment that screen manufacturers use to make displays. During a recent earnings call, the company said that it saw $700 million worth of orders during the second quarter, which is equal to what it generally gets over one year. During Q1, the company say $180 million in orders.
“It’s not a peak or a one-time event,” said Applied Materials Chief Executive Officer Gary Dickerson. “This is going to be sustainable growth. We all know who is the leader in terms of mobile products.”
To prevent people from thinking that orders being placed this early could imply that Apple is actually reading a switch to OLED for this year, Applied Materials noted that the machinery generally takes around 3 quarters to build, deliver, and install.
Apple display providers Sharp, LG Display, and Samsung have also all reported an increase in spending on display technology over the past two months, further hinting at Apple’s plans for the 2017 iPhone.
With companies already working to upgrade equipment, Bloomberg explains that Apple will be able to more easily upgrade the display of the iPhone as it enters mass production next year.
At this point it’s unclear whether both the 4.7-inch and 5.5-inch iPhone models will be upgraded to OLED. Last month, it was reported that Apple had reached a $2.6 billion agreement with Samsung to produce 5.5-inch OLED displays, while no mention was made of 4.7-inch screens. Other reports have claimed that Apple is planning on introducing a new 5.8-inch model in 2017, joining the existing two models.
As for design, the company is reportedly planning a switch to a glass design with metal edges, reminiscent of that of the iPhone 4. As always though, it’s best to wait until Apple officially makes an announcement, especially when we’re still over a year out from that announcement.