iPhones produced in 2017 will feature organic light-emitting diode (OLED) flexible displays, a significant step forward from the LCD screens the Californian tech giant currently uses in its handsets.
Apple held discussions with suppliers Samsung and LG in December over increasing the production of OLED screens in the run up to next September’s iPhone launch, Nikkei has reported.
OLED screens are typically brighter and use less power than LED displays, as well as being flexible, possibly raising the prospect of a curved screen in the iPhone or a future Apple gadget.
Last July, LG Display said it will invest KRW1.05 trillion in a flexible screen production line, based at the Gumi Plant in Gyeongbuk Province, Korea, which is listed among Apple’s suppliers.
The new line will produce more than 200 cuts 5.5-inch cuts from a single plastic substrate sheet – the same size as an iPhone 6 Plus display – according to LG. Mass production is not expected to begin until early 2017.
The new flexible plastic OLED displays will replace the traditional glass screens, and will now be extended across smartphone, automotive and wearable device displays, the company added. As well as iPhones, LG also supplies the display panels for the Apple Watch.
As well as allowing the display to bend, using plastic over glass makes a smartphone screen less likely to shatter when dropped. LG Display also produced the displays for the LG G2, G3 and G4, alongside the curved LG G Flex and G Flex 2. The G4 was praised for its Quad HD IPS Quantam Display, designed to increase brightness by 25pc and colour accuracy by 56pc compared to its predecessor.
It was reported last June that Apple was planning to replace the iPhone’s current LED-backlit Multi-Touch display with an OLED screen. The company has also filed numerous patents around the use of bendable displays and devices in recent years.
The Californian company was granted a similar patent for flexible displays in October last year, and another in February 2013. in November 2013, a report claimed two iPhone models were in development with curved glass screens, but given the sizing of the rumoured phones (4.7 inches and 5.5 inches respectively), it appears the source was referring to what became the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus.