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The iPhone 17 may get a display upgrade I’ve waited years for

Someone holding an iPhone 14 with the display turned on.
Joe Maring / Digital Trends

No, you didn’t read the headline incorrectly. Although we expect Apple to release the iPhone 16 series later this year, there’s already a new rumor about the 2025 iPhone 17 — and it’s a potentially big one.

Instant Digital, who is known for leaking iPhone information, recently posted a new iPhone 17 rumor on the Chinese social network Weibo claiming that Apple has developed a new display technology for the iPhone 17. Specifically, it’s one that could greatly reduce reflections and scratches.

As Instant Digital writes: “Apple spent billions on coating equipment in Japan, which has been handed over to China’s supply chain, but the iPhone 16 series can’t keep up. The outer glass of the iPhone 17 series will be made into a super-hard [anti-reflective] layer. It can be said that the iPhone 17 series will be more scratch-resistant than you think.”

There are a couple of things to unpack here. First is the reported “anti-reflective layer.” Although current iPhones already do a commendable job of being visible in direct sunlight, further improvements here are always welcome to see. However, it’s the second bit about the iPhone 17 series being “more scratch-resistant” that has me the most excited.

The screen on the Samsung Galaxy S24 Ultra and the Google Pixel 8 Pro.
The difference in screen reflection on the Samsung Galaxy S24 Ultra (left) and Google Pixel 8 Pro Andy Boxall / Digital Trends

I’ve been using the iPhone 15 Pro Max as my daily smartphone since its release last September, and its screen is littered with scratches. They’re all cosmetic and don’t impact how I use the phone, but there are a lot of them—and I hate every single one. I found myself in a similar situation last year with the iPhone 14 Pro. The Ceramic Shield glass Apple’s used on its iPhones since 2020 does a commendable job at being shatter-proof, but for whatever reason, it’s never impressed in terms of scratch resistance. If this is something Apple’s working to improve for the iPhone 17, you can count me in.

It’s also worth noting how similar this new display technology sounds to Corning’s Gorilla Armor glass, which debuted on the Samsung Galaxy S24 Ultra this year. Corning says that Gorilla Armor reduces reflections by up to 75%, is “over four times” more scratch-resistant, and “up to three times” more drop-resistant. When he tested it in January, Digital Trends’ Prakhar Khanna called Gorilla Armor “one of the biggest improvements in the Galaxy S24 Ultra.”

The iPhone 17 is obviously still far off at this point, so it’s difficult to say how this rumor will hold up in the coming months. However, if this is indeed something Apple is working on for the 2025 iPhone, I can’t wait for it.

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Joe Maring
Section Editor, Mobile
Joe Maring is the Section Editor for Digital Trends' Mobile team, leading the site's coverage for all things smartphones…
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