The ear of bezel-less smartphones is currently in its infancy as consumers are still adapting to this new trend. But leading handset makers are apparently already busy developing the next-generation displays which will be foldable. While Samsung has reputedly been working on a foldable or flexible smartphone for quite some time, a report on Wednesday claimed that Apple is also developing a similar device.
According to Korean website The Investor, Apple is working with LG Display to produce a future iPhone with foldable OLED panel. The report also suggested that the iPhone-maker chose to join forces with LG, instead of Samsung, due to concerns over leaking sensitive technical details to its biggest rival.
While LG Display is said to have created a "task force" to develop a foldable OLED screen for the new iPhone, the company's parts-making sister firm LG Innotek has been tasked with making the rigid flexible printed circuit board for the foldable iPhone.
The production of the display panels is expected to kick start in 2020, suggesting that the launch of a foldable iPhone could take place in 2021, three years after Samsung's first foldable smartphone, which is rumoured to debut as early as next year.
Reports of a future iPhone with a foldable display surfaced last year as well when LG Display was said to begin mass-production of foldable smartphone displays in 2018, with Apple being one of the potential partners. LG, meanwhile, has reportedly completed its own foldable OLED panel prototype years ago, and is currently working to increase durability and the yield rate of the same.
Samsung is currently the sole manufacturer of the OLED displays, NAND flash and DRAM chip in quantities required by Apple for its iPhones. Samsung's monopoly in producing iPhone parts has likely prompted Apple to explore possible cooperation with other suppliers like Sharp and Japan Display.
Although Samsung is still expected to supply OLED panels for Apple's 2018 iPhones, LG, which recently started OLED production for phones at Chinese plant, is reportedly planning to supply iPhone panels from 2019 onwards.
Apple introduced three new iPhones this year. The moderately upgraded iPhone 8 and iPhone 8 Plus are now available in the markets worldwide while the newly-designed bezel-less iPhone X is set to be released on November 3. Pre-orders for the same will begin on October 27.