I’m still recovering from the excitement of the still unreleased iPhone X, but the rumour mill waits for no man. Apple is reportedly working on a foldable iPhone, making the current models look like relics before they’ve even bedded in.
According to Korean publication The Bell, LG Display has recently formed a taskforce that will be developing a foldable OLED screen for a future iPhone model. LG Display’s sister firm, LG Innotek have been tasked with creating the rigid, flexible printed circuit boards (RFPCB). The report cites unnamed industry sources who say that the panel production could start from 2020, meaning any iPhone taking advantage of the technology will likely only appear in 2021.
The decision for Apple to work with LG over Samsung comes as a response to their fiery rivalry alongside a desire to curb leaks. Samsung is currently the sole supplier for the OLED panels on the iPhone X meaning that the Korean firm takes a sizable chunk of every iPhone X sold – so it’s no wonder they’re looking to distance themselves from their largest competitor. It’s a difficult feat to accomplish when Samsung is the dominant force in mobile OLED production, but Apple seems to be keen on strengthening relations with LG as it begins its first forays into OLED production at its E5 plant. Sources also suggest that Apple is looking to invest in the E6 plant.
A foldable iPhone would seem to be a clear differentiator between Apple and Samsung… if the Korean company didn’t have similar plans of its own. Patent designs and concepts from the Samsung show that the fan-named Galaxy X will be a foldable phone and tablet hybrid. Samsung’s mobile chief, Koh Dong-Jin, suggested this bendable Galaxy Note will be coming in 2018. If that forecast is confirmed, Apple will once again end up lagging significantly behind the innovation fold.