If the rumors today are true, the next iPhone will be bigger, brighter, and much clearer than previous models. Reports are circulating that the iPhone 7 will finally use AMOLED technology in a new model, which might debut next year sporting a bigger 5.8-inch screen. One report says suppliers are already gearing up.
With that major leap forward, it makes sense that the new model would use the iPhone 7 moniker instead of polishing up the current model and using a name (like the iPhone Pro, which was a rumor from a few weeks ago).
OLED is the preferred screen tech used in many Android models. OLED stands for organic light-emitting diode, which is a fancy way of saying the screen doesn't need a backlight. Instead, the screen responds to an electrical current to generate a color. Because of this, most people notice a much higher vibrancy. I'm testing an LG 65-inch television right now that uses OLED and, compared to the duller, darker, older Sony model that uses LCD tech I've owned for years, there is no comparison.
The AM in AMOLED stands for active matrix, which means there's a layer of TFT material on top of the OLED. Unlike passive matrix, the screen refreshes faster to make video look sharp and smooth. The basic idea here is to make your phone look more like your television. Of course, anyone who has dropped an expensive LG or Samsung phone knows there is a downside. When AMOLED phones shatter, they tend to shatter in a spectacular way. You usually need to find a fix-it shop.
The slight increase in size is also interesting. It turns out people really, really like to watch Netflix on their phones and tablets, which is what gave rise to the phablet and the iPhone 6 Plus. One of my kids uses a Samsung Note smartphone and she is constantly watching foreign shows on YouTube. There is no way she'd downgrade to something with a smaller screen. In fact, it's one key reason Android phones are outselling the iPhone these days. They work better as small television.
The rumor about the next iPhone 7 comes from a good source--analyst Ming-Chi Kuo from KGI, who also asserts the new iPhone will have an all glass enclosure. That's a break from the aluminum used in current iPhone models and is another way to differentiate in a crowded market. The iPhone 7 would look more modern, sleeker and sexier, and noticeably different from the iPhone 6.
That's the biggest reason why this could help put Apple on top again. There have been way too many minor updates to the iPhone lately, especially when it comes to the overall design. Modern phone buyers want something fresh and different to stand out from the crowd. Even if the iPhone 7 had a similar enclosure to the previous model but new features, people might not flock to it. An all-glass phone with a bright and clear AMOLED screen? One that's just a hair bigger than the previous model? Maybe it will look like an LG or HTC phone, but it will have the iPhone name.
Why this shift away from features and specs? We've reached a point where we use a smartphone for practical reason, and the app run fast enough on current models. The keyboards on most of the latest smartphones work perfectly for texting and email. As you may know, most people in the U.S. who want a smartphone have one by now., But what about an all-glass model with a noticeable superior screen? Suddenly, it becomes a way to make Netflix more appealing. You buy the phone so you can watch House of Cards in brighter colors, not so you can check email.
Hopefully, this is just what will boost Apple back on the top of the smartphone heap.