Thinner, lighter 2019 iPhone will be made possible by Samsung

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iPhone X
Proprietary Samsung display technology could bring improvements to a 2019 iPhone.
Photo: Ste Smith/Cult of Mac

A 2019 iPhone model reportedly will sport a display made by Samsung that has the touch panel integrated into the OLED, rather than layered on top. 

If true, the technology will make one of next year’s iOS handsets thinner and lighter, but not all of them.

Current iPhones have thin touch panels overlayed on their OLED or LED displays.  By contrast, Samsung’s Y-OCTA (Youm On-Cell Touch AMOLED) technology integrates the touch sensor into the display panel, above the flexible OLED but below the polarizer. This arrangement removes the need for a support layer for the touch panel.

A deal between Apple and Samsung display was signed today to put Y-OCTA screens in the 2019 iPhone, according to ETnews.

Samsung has reportedly improved the technology to make the touchscreen more sensitive. This was required for Apple to become interested.  Plus, the fact that producing Y-OCTA panels is up to 30 percent cheaper than the standard type can’t have hurt.

Apple and Samsung coopetition 

Although Samsung’s Galaxy smartphones are Apple’s top competitors, the Korean company nevertheless supplies components for iOS devices. 

It’s currently the exclusive provider of OLED panels for the iPhone XS and XS Max, though ETnews reports LG Display will join in this month. And Samsung made all the screens for last year’s iPhone X. So having this company exclusively make the displays for one 2019 iPhone model isn’t without precedent. 

This is apparently in-line with an earlier report that the iPhone XR is the last with an LED screen. All the 2019 iPhone models are expected to have OLEDs.