Samsung is believed to be the sole supplier of OLED displays for Apple’s forthcoming iPhone X, but in an effort to keep future technology breakthroughs secret from its chief rival, Apple is rumored to have partnered with LG to work on a new, foldable iPhone concept.
Citing a report from The Bell, The Korea Herald reported on Wednesday that LG has created a “task force” to build a foldable OLED display for a future iPhone model. In addition, LG Innotek has also reportedly been tasked with creating a “rigid flexible printed circuit board.”
Production of the panel could begin in 2020, the report said, suggesting Apple is looking well beyond this fall’s iPhone X debut.
Whether or not the report is true, such moves wouldn’t be surprising. Apple Chief Design Officer Jony Ive revealed in an interview last week that Apple was working on the bezel-less iPhone X design for 5 years ahead of its unveiling in September.
Wednesday’s report claims that LG created its own foldable OLED prototype two or three years ago. Since then, the company has worked on improving durability and production yields.
An alleged partnership with LG is noteworthy given that Samsung is currently the world’s premier OLED maker. Apple’s iPhone X is believed to feature displays solely from Samsung, as rival OLED panels from the likes of LG weren’t up to snuff.
But Apple is hoping to diversify its supply chain and lessen its dependence on Samsung, leading it to place strategic investments in other display makers.
It was claimed that Apple’s work with LG is a direct snub at Samsung, which is believed to be planning its own foldable handset for launch in 2018. The theory is that Apple may have partnered with LG to ensure that Samsung would not be able to get advanced word on future iPhone design changes.