Apple Supplier Japan Display Creating Flexible LCD Panels for Use in Future iPhones

iPhone supplier Japan Display has come up with a plan to battle the increasing popularity of organic light-emitting diode (OLED) panel manufacturing, without needing to delve into the costly practice of creating OLED panels itself. According to a new report by The Wall Street Journal, the supplier has figured out a way to manufacture flexible liquid crystal display (LCD) panels using technology and processes it already has at its disposal.

Set to begin mass production in 2018, Japan Display's flexible LCD panels are said to be built with a layer of plastic instead of glass. "While not as flexible as OLED," the company's chief operating officer, Shuji Aruga, mentioned that the panels are bendable enough to manufacture smartphones with the same screen design as Samsung's Galaxy Edge series.

galaxys7edge
According to people familiar with the matter, Apple has already begun looking at the flexible LCD panels for iPhone models launching in 2018 and beyond.
Japan Display officials said some smartphone makers, which they declined to name, have agreed to adopt the bendable LCD in the next few years. The company also hopes to sell the displays for other uses such as laptop computers and car dashboards.

“Mass production is planned from 2018, and we wouldn’t do that without demand from our clients,” said Mr. Aruga. Japan Display’s major clients, according to its financial statements, include Apple and Huawei Technologies Co.

Bendable displays could help revive growth in a smartphone market that is beginning to get saturated. People familiar with the matter have said Apple is looking at the displays for possible future iPhone models.
In addition to its plan to adapt LCD screens into flexible panels, Japan Display has previously acknowledged interest in OLED production, stating in late 2015 a goal to begin mass production of OLED panels by the spring of 2018. Last November, the supplier was said to be in "advanced talks" with the government-backed fund Innovation Network Corp. of Japan to receive around ¥75 billion ($662 million) in financing.

The bailout was said to be both for improving Japan Display's LCD technology, and potentially mass-producing its own OLED panels. Still, analysts looking at the move think that Japan Display "may not have the funds to pursue both technologies," so it's unclear at this point which panel technology the supplier will ultimately decide to stick with in the future.

For Apple, it's been long-rumored that at least one model of the 2017 iPhone 8 will come with an OLED screen -- supplied by Samsung -- which typically have sharper color contrast and brighter colors compared to LCD screens. Japan Display's domestic rival Sharp is currently expected to provide Apple with OLED panels as well, but not until mid-2018.

Related Roundup: iPhone 7
Tag: Japan Display


Top Rated Comments

(View all)
Avatar
9 weeks ago
I didn't think the primary benefit of OLED was its flexibility. I'd always thought it was its superior contrast levels and energy usage that put it above LCD. Am I wrong in thinking this?
Rating: 5 Votes
Avatar
9 weeks ago
"What is everyone else doing? Ok let's do that!"
- Tim Cook
Rating: 4 Votes
Avatar
9 weeks ago
Yes, because plastic screens are the way to go. Glass just doesn't get enough scratches for my tastes.
Rating: 3 Votes
Avatar
9 weeks ago
Apple has to fall again , before they
Fire Tim Cook !!!
Rating: 3 Votes
Avatar
9 weeks ago
Lol, when you're only option is to wait on other people's innovations before you can go ahead with your own designs, you'll never be a leader. This is no longer the early era of smartphones. A time where Apple dominated form and function.
Rating: 2 Votes
Avatar
9 weeks ago
Really, Apple wouldn't learn it's lesson until Apple have it's Doomsday once-and-for-all.
Rating: 2 Votes
Avatar
9 weeks ago

Please, do tell. But just to be sure, Apple was not the first. So again, who exactly will be dropping the jack?


True. Motorola already had deleted the Jack before Apple. There is another manufacturer who also removed the 3.5 mm Jack, I don't recall who it was.
Rating: 1 Votes
Avatar
9 weeks ago

Lol, and who's dropping the headphone jack after apple?
If that's not a ladder, then I don't know what is.


Please, do tell. But just to be sure, Apple was not the first. So again, who exactly will be dropping the jack?
Rating: 1 Votes
Avatar
9 weeks ago
Lord knows I'm no TC fan and if you don't know just do a search here. I hardly think the iPhone 7 is insanely great. More like, greatly adequate. But I think some here are being a tad too harsh. I mean even the first iPhone was not a breakthrough project because the smartphone was an original idea, heck it didn't even have state-of-the-air cellular capability, just 2G when the Palm had 3G. IIRC, it didn't even have MSM capability. What made the original iPhone so great was the novel GUI and mobile safari which was as close to a computer browser as we'd seen on a phone to-date.

Jobs rarely pushed out original technology. That wasn't Apple's calling card. What Apple did was make existing technology usable and, dare, I say, fun to use. TC has by-in-large not pushed the envelope on ideas, which is what Jobs did spectacularly. But TC does at least keep up with technology. I would not mind seeing a foldable iPhone when the technology reaches a usable stage. I doubt Apple would incorporate it until that point. Too much is at state to screw up the iPhone that much.
Rating: 1 Votes
Avatar
9 weeks ago

Lol, when you're only option is to wait on other people's innovations before you can go ahead with your own designs, you'll never be a leader. This is no longer the early era of smartphones. A time where Apple dominated form and function.

Lol, and who's dropping the headphone jack after apple?
If that's not a ladder, then I don't know what is.
Rating: 1 Votes
[ Read All Comments ]