Only one of the three iPhones Apple reportedly has planned for this year will feature an OLED display, but a new report seems to suggest Apple could jump to OLED for all its phones in 2018.
Korean site The Korea Economic Daily says that LG Innotek is set to start mass-production of flexible printed circuit boards (PCB) next year.
Flexible PCB’s by themselves aren’t exciting, but they’re the kind of components that work with flexible OLED screens, which will equip the iPhone 8 and future models. These flexible PCBs are responsible for transmitting all sorts of signals and data back and forth, including images and touchscreen input actions.
Non-flexible PCBs are used with regular displays, while flexible OLED screens require these flexible circuits. The report notes that LG Innotek will be a main flexible PCB supplier for Apple and LG, hinting that LG Display may make flexible OLED screens for Apple in the future.
The Korea Economic Daily notes that flexible PCBs were first used by Samsung in the Galaxy S6 edge, which is why Samsung Electro-Mechanics has the lead. LG Innotek hopes to finally challenge Samsung in this business by making its own flexible PCBs, possibly for the next wave of iPhones.
This year, Samsung will be the only supplier of OLED screens to Apple, but the iPhone maker is looking for at least one more supplier going forward. Samsung Display may dominate the current OLED business for smartphone screens, but LG, Japan Display, and various Chinese companies are heavily investing in factories that will manufacture OLED screens in the coming years.
These investments may help Apple switch all iPhones to OLED screens as soon as next year, which is what some rumors already claim. But making OLED screens for iPhones appears to be very challenging, and could lead to massive launch delays for the iPhone 8 this year.