Is Flexible OLED Possible for Apple’s iPhone?

UBI Research, of Korea, writes that flexible AMOLED displays are the newest form of smartphone differentiation. Now that hardware performance has improved ‘as much as possible’, Samsung and LG are using flexible screens to set their products apart from the competition.

With the interest in flexible displays, there are many rumours that Apple will apply the technology to its next iPhone (the company was recently granted an AMOLED patent for its Mac and iPhone products: Apple Patents Method to Raise AMOLED Display Brightness). UBI’s latest report analyses Apple’s flexible OLED application potential.

Only Samsung Display (SDC) and LG Display (LGD) have the technology to mass-produce flexible AMOLED screens. Japan Display (JDI) and AUO also possess the production technology, but require more investment before they achieve mass production.

With this in mind, UBI states that LGD, JDI and AUO will need to invest in their G6 production lines this year, if they hope to produce displays for the next iPhone (presumed to be released in 2017).

To meet Apple’s projected 2020 demand, UBI estimates that capacity will need to be around 170,000 substrates a month at a G6 line. Considering the recent trend of 20,000 units per line, eight or nine lines will be required. Apple’s future flexible AMOLED plans (if, indeed, they exist – TA) are believed to be achieveable.

UBI forecasts a 57% CAGR for flexible AMOLED panel revenues from 2016. Revenues will rise to around $35 million by 2020.