Apple has started developing an OLED panel without a polarizer that will make them thinner than traditional displays.
Reportedly, these slim OLED panels are ideal for use in foldable displays. Samsung already uses OLED displays with similar technology on the Galaxy Z Fold3.
Thinner OLED panels without a polarizer are ideal for foldable displays
An OLED panel consists of multiple layers, like the backlight, touch sensors, glass substrate, etc. Since a foldable display will be opened/closed thousands of times over its lifespan, it needs to be thin and durable enough. For this, most manufacturers are looking to integrate all the layers of an OLED panel into one.
The Elec report states that current OLEDs feature a polarizer that allows light to pass through in only certain directions. This helps improve the display’s visibility; however, the drawback is that its brightness and luminance efficiency is reduced. While this can be offset by increasing the power consumption, it reduces the panel’s lifespan.
Samsung Display was the first company to use an OLED panel without a polarizer on the Galaxy Z Fold 3. The company used its “Eco2 OLED” technology in which it printed a color filter on the thin film encapsulation and added a black pixel layer. This helped increase the light transmittance on the panel by 33% while also reducing power consumption by 25%.
Don’t expect a foldable iPhone to arrive anytime soon
An analyst previously claimed that Apple is “actively testing” a 9-inch foldable device. However, the device is not expected to make its way to the market until at least 2025.
Even if Apple develops a thinner OLED panel, it would ultimately outsource them to display makers like Samsung Display or LG Display for mass production. Currently, the company sources OLED panels for iPhones from Samsung — the leader in this display technology.