Goodbye OLED! iPhone 17 could get a huge display upgrade

iPhone 14 Pro
(Image credit: Laptop Mag)

The iPhone 17 is tipped for a huge upgrade to custom microLED displays, which will bring a ton of benefits including pictures that look like they are “painted on top of the device’s glass.”

Yes, you read that right. We're gazing far into the future here. And If this hyperbole is to be believed, we could be in for something special in future iPhones after the technology debuts in the 2024 Apple Watch Ultra. 

But it's not just iPhones, as according to Mark Gurman’s latest newsletter, we’ll see this technology pop up in iPads and Macs at a later date.

What about OLED?

iPhone 14 camera

(Image credit: Future)

So I’ll be honest, I read this with a bit of confusion. I thought we were all enjoying OLED, but the more you read about microLED, the more excited you’ll get at the possibilities!

Apple actually started this custom display project in 2017, under the codename T159. These displays look set to offer higher brightness levels, better viewing angles and truer color reproduction. But probably the most important part of this to Apple is that it will be a display technology manufactured by the company itself — rather than needing to rely on companies like Samsung and LG.

It’s become abundantly clear that the Cupertino crew has been trying to bring as much of the hardware building process in-house as possible, and this would be a significant step.


Apple Watch Ultra

(Image credit: Apple)

Where will we see this tech first? According to rumors, it will be coming to a new Apple Watch Ultra at the end of 2024, and the iPhone should follow soon after.

There aren't any specific launch windows talked about for these over what is going to be a long-term plan for the company. But given the display sizes and how quick Apple is to implement new tech across its line-up, I think seeing it in the 2025 iPhone is a safe bet. 

For bigger displays in the iPad and Mac, you could be looking at up to a decade-long wait time, as the technology is really complex. Whatever happens, this could be the breakthrough in smartphone displays that we’ve been waiting for.

Jason England
Content Editor

Jason brought a decade of tech and gaming journalism experience to his role as a writer at Laptop Mag, and he is now the Managing Editor of Computing at Tom's Guide. He takes a particular interest in writing articles and creating videos about laptops, headphones and games. He has previously written for Kotaku, Stuff and BBC Science Focus. In his spare time, you'll find Jason looking for good dogs to pet or thinking about eating pizza if he isn't already.