Apple’s iPhone X introduced the very first iPhone model to come with a bezel-less design, but the iPhone of the future might also be foldable. A new report claims that Apple is already working on a new foldable iPhone alongside LG, and it could be ready by 2020.
The Bell (via The Investor) reports that LG Display has been tasked by Apple to create a foldable screen for a new iPhone model. Meanwhile, LG Innotek has already formed a new team that will be developing a rigid flexible printed circuit board for the device. An unnamed industry source claims production on the new foldable OLED display for the foldable iPhone could start in 2020. However, Apple could still delay the launch of the device at a later date.
Apple typically begins working on its next iPhone one year before launch so that it could share information on key features with its suppliers. LG is also believed to have completed its foldable OLED panel prototype two or three years ago and has been improving its durability and the yield rate ever since.
A partnership between Apple and LG isn’t a huge surprise. Back in July, IBT reported Apple invested 3 trillion won or $2.70 billion in LG Display so that it could secure production of OLED panels. At the time, it was already speculated that Apple might team up with LG for one of its future iPhones.
Currently, Apple’s only OLED supplier for the iPhone X is Samsung Display. Samsung currently holds a near monopoly over OLED production. A study from earlier this year claims Samsung would hold around 89 percent of the OLED panel market in 2017 and will only drop down to 72 percent by 2020.
With Samsung the only OLED supplier capable of meeting Apple’s demands, it’s been speculated that this is one of the reasons why the $999 iPhone X is very expensive. KGI Securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo believes that Samsung is charging Apple way more for each OLED unit.
This is one of the reasons why Apple is clearly seeking out other potential OLED suppliers and now it definitely looks like it’s LG. Apple’s investment in LG Display hasn’t been finalized yet, but it does seem like it might be soon.
What’s really surprising about this new report is that Apple is planning on creating a foldable iPhone. Foldable smartphone concepts have been around for some time now, but no manufacturer has released one just yet. Samsung is expected to announce its foldable Galaxy X smartphone next year, while LG has experimented with it before through flexible phone designs like the LG G Flex.
The only manufacturer that seems to be pretty close to releasing a foldable smartphone is ZTE, albeit not with a flexible OLED display. A few weeks ago the company’s ZTE Axon M or Axon Multy was leaked online and it shows a handset featuring two displays attached together with a hinge. This allows users to fold out the ZTE Axon M into one big smartphone.
Source : http://www.ibtimes.com/apple-reportedly-partners-lg-create-foldable-iphone-2020-2600012564