Apple has approached Samsung Display and LG Display to create bezel-less OLEDs for the iPhone, necessitating advancements in thin-film encapsulation (TFE) and under-panel camera (UPC) technologies, and resolving antenna space constraints. According to The Elec, Apple wants to achieve a bezel-free display without adopting a curved display, which may exhibit optical distortion and susceptibility to external shocks. That has not stopped Apple’s competitors from adopting curved displays, though.
The first commercially viable AMOLED displays using TFE were delivered in 2013. Samsung is the major supplier of flexible OLED designs, and TFE is a key component of the success of a bezel-less OLED. The challenge will come in integrating other electronics, such as the UPC and antenna with the flexible OLED. Typically these devices are installed on rigid panel with a different stress profile than flexible OLED. Apple is pushing hard here to differentiate its designs from competitors that are showing intriguing and attractive displays of their own. For example, while Android phones mostly avoided a dynamic island, they also lacked a lot of the sensors and features of the iPhone, but even so, Apple has been seen as lagging its competitors in design terms. Bezel-less and under-glass technologies are Apple’s best hope to retain its signature iPhone look while allowing it to deliver its greater range of integrated services.