LTPO, or low-temperature polycrystalline oxide, is a new kind of TFT backplane that Apple may adopt in the iPhone and Apple Watch, according to IHS Markit’s David Hsieh. The company has applied for three important patents relating to LTPO over the past four years. IHS believes this may be because it wants more control over flexible OLED components.
Hsieh says that there are several reasons for Apple to introduce LTPO:
- To be more closely involved in flexible OLED component cost and technology
- To reduce power consumption of Apple products
- To achieve high electron mobility for higher resolution of its displays
- To better manage its display supply chain and that of its partner display manufacturers
IHS believes that Apple may try to increase its use of flexible OLED technology to differentiate from Samsung’s currently dominant technologies. Apple uses flexible AMOLED from Samsung because it is the company’s most stable supplier but the company may try to encourage other suppliers, such as LG, BOE or Japan Display, to advance these technologies on their own, Hsieh said. Japan Display has been developing LTPO technology for some time now.
Hsieh’s report goes on to highlight several challenges that he believes Apple will face trying to introduce LTPO technology, including a bigger TFT size and an increase in the photomask process. The research firm believes that Apple may ask display suppliers to start deploying LTPO in the Apple Watch first, before gradually introducing it into the iPhone display.
You can read David Hsieh’s report in full here.