A new supply chain report published today states that Apple will continue to give the bulk of their display business to Japan Display (JDI) in 2016. Sharp was originally considered a major contender to provide displays to Apple in 2016 but has since lost favor with Apple due to the panel maker's decisions over the last few years to give order priority to China-based vendors. The report further noted that Apple is considering a shift in display technology for the 2017 iPhone 7s (or the iPhone 8).
The report's sources confirmed that Apple will strengthen its cooperation with JDI for higher-end displays, and is expected to continue doing so into 2016 as plans for the new iPhone have already been laid out. Sharp is expected to play a minor role in 2016. The only thing that could rock that boat is if Apple gets involved in backing Foxconn's bid to acquire Sharp's LCD business as has been rumored lately.
The report interestingly noted that it appears that Apple is considering a shift in display technology for 2017. Apple is expected to continue exploring other possible solutions such as switching back to G/G technology in order to support higher-end displays but these panels are currently in the early development stage. We posted a report all about that in June. If Apple decides to go with a bezel-free iPhone in 2017, then G/G touch displays may be chosen.
The other avenue that Apple is reportedly exploring is a shift to AMOLED. On one hand the report notes that Apple has been concerned over production bottlenecks related to In-Cell panels that have prevented the company from increasing the resolution for iPhone devices. A media report from Japan meanwhile reiterated similar concerns but added that Apple is still concerned about AMOLED's lifespan.
Then again, Apple has dozens of inventions on record focused on improving AMOLED displays. In one May 2014 report alone we pointed to Apple having more than 24 patent applications on this front. Whether or not Apple's engineers could advance AMOLED displays quick enough and Apple find ample supply for 2017 iDevices is still an open question.