Apple typically begins working on its next iPhone one year before launch so that it could share information on key features with its suppliers. While the LG has been given the responsibility of making foldable OLED displays, LG Innotek and Apple have come on board to develop a flexible circuit board that would power these displays in the upcoming iPhones.
LG reportedly developed a foldable OLED panel prototype two to three years ago and has been upgrading the durability and yield rate since then.
We're still awaiting the first OLED iPhone to ship with the iPhone X in less than a month, and new rumors are surfacing about a future iPhone with a foldable display.
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A partnership between Apple and LG isn't a huge surprise. The reason is that Samsung supplies a number of the phone's components - notably its curved OLED display. The report suggests that Apple's rivalry with Samsung and concern over leaking may be a deciding factor in choosing suppliers. In that sphere, LG has been making moves and has the potential to get ahead, which could be why Apple may be looking to tap LG's services for a future smartphone product. Samsung now holds a near monopoly over OLED production.
Currently, Samsung is the sole provider of the OLED screen technology for the upcoming iPhone X. KGI Securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo believes that Samsung is charging Apple way more for each OLED unit.
Citing unnamed industry sources, the report said, the panel production could start from 2020, which means Apple could delay its phone launch compared to the Samsung phone that is likely to debut next year. Foldable smartphone concepts have been around for some time now, but no manufacturer has released one just yet.