Apple to Release 5.4-Inch and 6.7-Inch iPhones With Thinner Displays Next Year

Apple plans to release two new iPhones with thinner 5.4-inch and 6.7-inch OLED displays in 2020 thanks to the use of on-cell touch panels.

A new report from South Korean outlet ETNews (via MacRumors) suggests that Samsung and LG will be sole suppliers of thinner OLED displays for Apple’s new 2020 iPhones, which will reportedly come in 5.4, 6.1 and 6.7-inch models.

According to the report, those Samsung displays in the flagship models will feature on-cell touch technology, known as Y-OCTA. This is an OLED panel that has a touch sensor held within the display, rather than as a separate film. According to the report, the displays will eliminate a separate touch-sensitive layer, allowing the display itself to be thinner than previous designs:

It is understood that Samsung Display will be the sole supplier of 5.4-inch and 6.7-inch OLED panels. Specifically, it will supply on-cell touch flexible OLED panels.

This panel is basically an OLED panel that has touch function built in. Touch sensor is placed on top of thin film encapsulation inside of a panel. Touch function in the past attaches a touch film on a panel. Because on-cell touch OLED panel does not require a separate film, it can lead to a thinner display and reduce production cost.

Samsung Display succeeded in commercializing on-cell touch OLED panel, which is called ‘Y-OCTA’ technology according to Samsung Display, when it supplied the panel to Samsung Electronics.

Samsung will retain its spot as Apple’s unique supplier of high-end iPhone displays, although it reportedly had to offer the Cupertino company a “shocking” deal:

Because Apple saw the strengths of on-cell touch OLED panel and Samsung Display is the only company that can mass-produce this panel, Apple has requested supplies of 5.4-inch and 6.7-inch OLED panels from Samsung Display.

“Although Apple had been sticking with film touch method since its first iPhone, Samsung Display has succeeded in drawing a change from Apple by actively promoting Y-OCTA technology to Apple.” said a representative for the industry. “It is heard that Samsung Display also suggested shocking terms in order to obtain an order from Apple.”

The third iPhone will continue to feature a film-based 6.1-inch display that will be supplied by both Samsung and LG. While LG’s Display arm can also produce OLED panels with on-cell touch panels, its quality and technology are still a bit behind Samsung.

ETNews says it is likely Apple will introduce “more than four” iPhones, noting that “a model will support 5G.” Leading Apple analyst, TF International Securities’ Ming-Chi Kuo has said that all of Apple’s flagship 2020 iPhones will come with faster 5G modems.

While most of the 2020 iPhones are expected in September when Apple traditionally announces its new models, Kuo has also said Apple will launch a new, cheaper iPhone, possibly called the iPhone SE2, in the first quarter of 2020.