iPhone 17: New anti-reflective scratch-resistant display

Mike Powers
iPhone 17: New anti-reflective scratch-resistant display

If this iPhone 17 rumor is correct, Apple’s iPhone 16 won’t have a display innovation that would match one of the Galaxy S24 Ultra’s best new display features. I’m not talking about the actual OLED panel on the iPhone 16. The OLED screen should offer one of the best experiences in the industry. I’m talking about durability and reflectiveness.

The Galaxy S24 Ultra has a new Corning Glass Armor display glass panel that reduces reflections by 75%. That alone is a huge deal, although it’s something you might not always think about. Also, it’s up to four times more scratch-resistant than other glass panels. That’s an even bigger deal, of course.

Of those two features, I’m interested in the former. I’d like an iPhone glass layer that can reduce reflections further. As for the scratch-resistance, that’s an extra benefit, as long as it doesn’t compromise drop resistance. 

Apple may be working on such a screen, but it reportedly won’t be ready for the iPhone 16 series coming this year. Instead, we’ll have to wait for the iPhone 17 to deliver a more anti-reflective and more scratch-resistant display.

The rumor originates from China, via MacRumors. A leaker who goes by the name Instant Digital says Apple spent billions on equipment in Japan that will be delivered to iPhone supply chain companies in China. 

They’ll use the equipment to make glass covers for the iPhone 17 that feature a “super-hard anti-reflective layer” that is “more scratch-resistant than you think.” It’s too late for the iPhone 16 to get it, the person said. 

As with all iPhone rumors, we can’t say whether or not these claims are genuine. But it makes sense for Apple to improve the iPhone display durability when competing flagships are doing the same thing. It’ll be interesting to see how Apple explains the iPhone 16’s glass durability this September.

The Galaxy S24 Ultra features Corning’s new Glass Armor display panel. Image source: Christian de Looper for BGR

It’s not just the Galaxy S24 Ultra that pushes the envelope when it comes to durability. Chinese smartphone vendors are also touting improved glass covers for phones like the Xiaomi 14 Ultra and the Honor Magic 6 Pro.

A version of the latter also features a dual-layer OLED tandem screen, a tech that Apple will only use in the OLED iPad Pro models. This tech doesn’t concern durability, but the performance of the OLED panel itself. The point is there’s a lot of pressure on Apple to improve the iPhone’s display in the coming years.

Back to the Galaxy S24 Ultra’s Corning Glass Armor cover, tests have shown it can withstand scratches better than previous versions. The scratch resistance might sound exciting to anyone looking to stop buying screen protectors for the iPhone. The leaker hints that will be a possibility. 

But better scratch resistance doesn’t mean better protection against drops. The Galaxy S24 Ultra did worse in drop tests than its predecessors. 

The glass’s ability to reduce reflections is the bigger win for me. It would improve the iPhone display experience in bright conditions, like using the handset outdoors during summer days. I’ll still put a screen protector on my future iPhones.

As for what sort of glass Apple will be using, that’s still unclear. MacRumors points out that the iPhone’s current “Ceramic Shield” glass is made by Apple together with Corning. The iPhone 17’s rumored glass might be a version of the Gorilla Glass Armor that Corning developed for the Galaxy S24 Ultra. But that’s just speculation.

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