As we’ve noted here on the blog throughout 2012, very few of currently rumored features for the iPhone 5 are anything new: most of what we’re hearing are recycled rumors from 2011. today, a report is coming out of Korea that Samsung is producing OLED displays for the iPhone 5. According to IBT, “The Korea Times recently reported that Samsung has increased the production of the OLED screen for the new iPhone.”
Amazingly, iPhone 5 News Blog columnist Charles Moore prognosticated the possibility of a curved glass display back on May 24th, predicting that the technology debut on an iPhone in 2012. Charles’ predictions continue to be impressively accurate.
Thus, if this new OLED production rumor proves to be true, then it shows that Apple is putting into production a patent for an AMOLED screen that we reported on in July of last year. In that article, we also reported that Samsung — the worldwide leader in AMOLED technology — would be the default producer of any OLED screens for the iPhone 5. They began showcasing the AMOLED technology back in 2010: “At the 2010 CES, “Samsung demonstrated a laptop computer with a large, transparent OLED display featuring up to 40% transparency and an animated OLED display in a photo ID card” (from Wikipedia), and are now rolling out their Super AMOLED Plus displays, which utilize “real stripe matrix (50% more sub pixels), thinner form factor, brighter image and a 18% reduction in energy consumption.”
The immediate benefits of switching the iPhone’s display from LCD to AMOLED is that it uses less energy and takes up less space. But perhaps the most compelling reason to use AMOLED is that it is completely flexible; you can craft curved and bendable screens with it. You might recall photos of future iPhones that could be as thin as a credit card and fit in your wallet. While that sort of design is most likely not forthcoming on the iPhone 5 this year, the use of an OLED screen could allow Apple to give the iPhone 5 a curved, convex display that “wraps” around the user’s head when making a call, thus improving signal clarity.
The rumor of a curved screen was well documented in 2011, when Apple reportedly invested in expensive glass-cutting machines, ostensibly to craft complex, curved displays (and perhaps other body components) for the iPhone 5. Obviously, those glass cutting machines were not utilized in the iPhone 4S’s production, since it simply reprised the iPhone 4′s form factor and dimensions. But if the glass-cutting machine rumors are true — together with these late-breaking rumors of Samsung producing OLED screens for the iPhone 5 — we very well may see a curvier iPhone this year.
Note: Wikipedia describes the difference between the OLED and AMOLED acronyms thusly: “AMOLED (active-matrix organic light-emitting diode) is a display technology for use in mobile devices and televisions. OLED describes a specific type of thin-film display technology in which organic compounds form the electroluminescent material, and active matrix refers to the technology behind the addressing of pixels.”
By Michael Nace