A recent report from The Investor citing The Bell claims that LG Display and Apple may have reached an agreement for the development of a future foldable iPhone. The report goes on to mention that while Samsung Display is currently Apple’s main OLED panel supplier for devices like the iPhone X, the company headquartered in Cupertino may want to establish a new partnership with LG Display as a way to minimize the risks of its future technologies being leaked to its main rival, Samsung Electronics. LG Display will reportedly start mass producing Apple’s flexible OLED displays sometime in 2020, whereas Samsung Electronics is expected to launch its first foldable handset as early as 2018. In addition, LG’s part-manufacturing division Innotek has reportedly set up a new team dedicated to the development of rigid flexible printed circuit boards, or “RF PCB” for short.
LG Display used to be Apple’s main LCD supplier and this partnership has been going on for years. However, with the rise in popularity of OLED display technologies, and with Samsung Display continuing to increase its OLED production capacity, this year’s Apple flagship has been equipped with an appropriate OLED display manufactured by none other than Samsung. However, recent reports suggest that LG Display might become Apple’s supplier once again, at least once the company will be able to produce enough OLED displays for the job. LG recently began its first OLED mass production at its E5 plant in Gumi, but the company might reportedly start manufacturing panels for Apple once its E6 plant in Paju will be ready sometime in 2019. Furthermore, the report suggests that the two tech giants have already tentatively agreed on Apple making an investment in LG Display’s E6 plant in order to secure this future partnership, however, the deal has not yet been concluded.
Although there’s no way to guarantee the validity of these reports, in theory at least it would make a certain amount of sense for Apple to want and maintain the secrecy of its alleged flexible iPhone of the future, especially since Samsung Electronics has already been working on numerous flexible smartphone concepts over the past few years. The flexible smartphone is expected to become the next big step in the evolution of our handheld devices following the full-screen, bezel-less design language currently storming the mobile market, and we can safely assume that many OEMs will want to become the first to try and define the flexible smartphone concept.