'Huge' orders for Samsung's flexible OLEDs spark rumors of Apple interest

Posted:
in Future Apple Hardware edited January 2014
Samsung has seen a "huge" number of orders for its new flexible OLED screens, and Apple is rumored to be among the companies interested in the new technology.

Citing industry sources in the Far East, The Korea Times reported that Apple is "likely" to be one of the handset makers who will ask Samsung to provide them with flexible OLED screens. Mass production of bendable OLED screens is scheduled to begin in the second half of 2012.

Talk of Apple and flexible OLED displays surfaced after Samsung Electronics Vice Chairman Kwon Oh-hyun revealed his company has seen "huge" orders from device makers for its pliable organic light emitting diode displays.

The report from Korea said while a flexible OLED will not be found in Apple's sixth-generation iPhone, expected to be launched later this year, it's possible that Apple could adapt the technology in the future, for what it dubbed an "iPhone Yoga."

Initial production of flexible OLED displays will be limited. Samsung has a number of lines dedicated to the technology at a factory in Tangjeong, South Korea, but they will only produce 960,000 OLED sheets by the end of 2012, the report said.

Samsung flexible display
Samsung Mobile Display showing off a flexible display at CES 2011. Source: OLED-Display.net


The bullish comments from Kwon led some who spoke with the Times to infer that Apple is behind the company's optimism for the future of flexible OLEDs. One anonymous source noted that Apple sets the trends that the rest of the industry follows.

"If Samsung finds increasing industry demand for a futuristic product like flexible displays, it's hard to imagine Apple doesn't have something to do with it," one person was quoted as saying.

Earlier this year, another report claimed that Apple was investigating flexible panels for potential use in future iPad models. Apple currently does not use AMOLED screens in any of its products, instead relying on traditional LCD screens with in-plane switching technology for superior viewing angles.
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 39
    solipsismxsolipsismx Posts: 19,566member
    I can think of uses for a flexible display built into a secure, curved space but I can't think of any use for a flexible display that can be manipulated by the user.
  • Reply 2 of 39
    cvaldes1831cvaldes1831 Posts: 1,832member


    There have been occasional rumors that Apple has been testing a wearable item. A flexible screen might be appropriate for a jacket sleeve.


     


    Also, Google has people doing research on wearable technology. That said, I'm rather skeptical of this rumor.

  • Reply 3 of 39
    irelandireland Posts: 17,547member


    meh..

  • Reply 4 of 39
    gazoobeegazoobee Posts: 3,754member

    Quote:

    Originally Posted by SolipsismX View Post



    I can think of uses for a flexible display built into a secure, curved space but I can't think of any use for a flexible display that can be manipulated by the user.


     


    I was just about to say the same thing.  I haven't seen anyone yet come up with any real world application of this technology that's compelling at all.  Perhaps a slightly concave phone screen for better thumb ergonomics, but that's about it. 


     


    Samsung's only idea so far is to have the screen fold over on one side for half a centimetre or so making "side buttons" that are still part of the screen.  A gimmicky thing if ever there was one. 

  • Reply 5 of 39
    gazoobeegazoobee Posts: 3,754member

    Quote:


    Originally Posted by cvaldes1831 View Post


     


    ... Google has people doing research on wearable technology. ..



     


    This makes the most sense to me.  The absolute number of screens being produced is too low for production models of anything.  


     


    Google is famous for jumping on emerging technology far too soon and spending large amounts of money testing it only to be ultimately beaten to the punch by Apple when the technology actually becomes relevant.  I would bet money that Google just bought up 90,000 screens for some kind of stupid testing and every Google-ite will end up with one in their closet collecting dust.  

  • Reply 6 of 39


    Actually, one of the principle benefits of a flexible display is that it can be attached to something OTHER than glass.  This leads to a great opportunity in handheld devices; the screen can be mounted on a stiff plate and you get an unbreakable screen.  


     


    I was working with such technology for military applications, but it is a real option in the future.  The glass screens are simply a weak-point in the smartphone ecosystem.


     


    Charlie

  • Reply 7 of 39
    solipsismxsolipsismx Posts: 19,566member
    The glass screens are simply a weak-point in the smartphone ecosystem.
    I don't follow. If a plastic covered display was better then Apple wouldn't have used the more expensive and complex glass on the original iPhone and others wouldn't have followed suit. Alkali-aluminosilicate sheet glass is used because it's flexible and scratch resistance. I know of no optical quality plastics that are as scratch resistance at that thickness.
  • Reply 8 of 39
    madgoatmadgoat Posts: 21member


    For those who can't see a use... Earth Final Conflict GlobalLink phones anyone?


     


    phone-final-conflict.jpg

  • Reply 9 of 39
    macbook promacbook pro Posts: 1,605member

    Quote:

    Originally Posted by SolipsismX View Post



    I can think of uses for a flexible display built into a secure, curved space but I can't think of any use for a flexible display that can be manipulated by the user.


     


    Perhaps not so much a flexible display to be manipulated by the user as a curved display in a non-standard design.


     


    Bluetooth enabled sunglasses with OLED flexible display lenses?


    Curved tablets designed to integrate with "Made for iPad" products?


    iWatch with Bluetooth integration to iPad and iPhone?


     


    I think we need to start thinking about computers in an entirely different way.


     


    In the future computers will be ubiquitous embedded technologies we can't even imagine.  The pervasive computing model is why Apple will be so successful for years to come.  Apple OS X modular design provides flexibility that competitors can't imagine.  From Mac Pro to iPad to iPhone to iPod nano the adaptability of the operating system is manifest.  We simply aren't used to this pervasive computing model because no one has had any success (until Apple, recently) with anything other than desktops, laptops and "smartphones."  Until Apple invaded the "smartphone" space computing power in such a small form factor was an issue, one of the next issues will be design limitations of non-flexibility screens.

  • Reply 10 of 39
    MacProMacPro Posts: 18,003member

    Quote:

    Originally Posted by SolipsismX View Post



    I can think of uses for a flexible display built into a secure, curved space but I can't think of any use for a flexible display that can be manipulated by the user.


    A ceiling mounted, auto roll down, giant TV display?  But that's not exactly manipulated by the user except in deploying it although if really big you could choose to curve (user preference controlled)  the display like the old massive movie theaters did with the screens. Sound of Music anyone?


     


    On a more serious note ... the screens for a pair of stereo viewing goggles might have user control to a pair of flexible screens for diopter adjustment.

  • Reply 11 of 39
    dick applebaumdick applebaum Posts: 12,505member

    Quote:

    Originally Posted by MacBook Pro View Post


     


    Perhaps not so much a flexible display to be manipulated by the user as a curved display in a non-standard design.


     


    Bluetooth enabled sunglasses with OLED flexible display lenses?


    Curved tablets designed to integrate with "Made for iPad" products?


    iWatch with Bluetooth integration to iPad and iPhone?


     


    I think we need to start thinking about computers in an entirely different way.


     


    In the future computers will be ubiquitous embedded technologies we can't even imagine.  The pervasive computing model is why Apple will be so successful for years to come.  Apple OS X modular design provides flexibility that competitors can't imagine.  From Mac Pro to iPad to iPhone to iPod nano the adaptability of the operating system is manifest.  We simply aren't used to this pervasive computing model because no one has had any success (until Apple, recently) with anything other than desktops, laptops and "smartphones."  Until Apple invaded the "smartphone" space computing power in such a small form factor was an issue, one of the next issues will be design limitations of non-flexibility screens.



     


    Like this?


     


    "How far would you go to get rid of those pesky watch straps? One man has decided to implant magnets into his skin in order to go strapless, calling the project iDermal (NSFW!). Dave Hurban undertook the project in order to attach an iPod Nano to his wrist to use as a timepiece."


     


    http://www.slashgear.com/magnets-ipod-nano-strapless-watch-14228028/


     


     


    ipodmagnet.jpg

  • Reply 12 of 39
    dick applebaumdick applebaum Posts: 12,505member


    Removed: duplicate

  • Reply 13 of 39
    pmzpmz Posts: 3,433member


    The likelihood of Apple placing huge orders for this tech right now is slim to none.

  • Reply 14 of 39
    dick applebaumdick applebaum Posts: 12,505member

    Quote:

    Originally Posted by MacBook Pro View Post


     


    Perhaps not so much a flexible display to be manipulated by the user as a curved display in a non-standard design.


     


    Bluetooth enabled sunglasses with OLED flexible display lenses?


    Curved tablets designed to integrate with "Made for iPad" products?


    iWatch with Bluetooth integration to iPad and iPhone?


     


    I think we need to start thinking about computers in an entirely different way.


     


    In the future computers will be ubiquitous embedded technologies we can't even imagine.  The pervasive computing model is why Apple will be so successful for years to come.  Apple OS X modular design provides flexibility that competitors can't imagine.  From Mac Pro to iPad to iPhone to iPod nano the adaptability of the operating system is manifest.  We simply aren't used to this pervasive computing model because no one has had any success (until Apple, recently) with anything other than desktops, laptops and "smartphones."  Until Apple invaded the "smartphone" space computing power in such a small form factor was an issue, one of the next issues will be design limitations of non-flexibility screens.



     


    I would like to see the next iteration of the iPad have an edge-to-edge (no bezel) display.  Optionally, the user could set the device to have a logical bezel -- displayed in black and ignore any touches...


     


    When in no-bezel mode, the iPads could be aggregated into a video wall -- a logical display of any size -- say 5 rows of 5 iPads...


     


    Something like this, with more iPads:


     


    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9s2oYUy_cVY


     


     


    Apple already has Mac OS software that can break an image or video into segments and aggregate them to multiple displays.


     


    With the new higher speed WiFi, this could be quite effective!

  • Reply 15 of 39
    freerangefreerange Posts: 1,585member
    Actually, one of the principle benefits of a flexible display is that it can be attached to something OTHER than glass.  This leads to a great opportunity in handheld devices; the screen can be mounted on a stiff plate and you get an unbreakable screen.  

    I was working with such technology for military applications, but it is a real option in the future.  The glass screens are simply a weak-point in the smartphone ecosystem.

    Charlie

    Bullshit! Gorilla glass is the only thing that makes sense for iPhones and iPads. A flexible plastic screen would be toast after a few weeks in and out of pockets, purses, briefcases, etc. Scratch resistance and durability is what is needed. Flexible screens are a solution looking for a problem.
  • Reply 16 of 39
    sleepy3sleepy3 Posts: 244member


    Whoever said it was for phones?


     


    Tv's that are angled, wraparound displays in apple stores.....the applications are only limited by your imagination.....hence the reason we don't get paid the big bucks for making new products. 

  • Reply 17 of 39
    tallest skiltallest skil Posts: 43,399member

    Quote:

    Originally Posted by sleepy3 View Post

    Tv's that are angled, wraparound displays in apple stores.....the applications are only limited by your imagination.....hence the reason we don't get paid the big bucks for making new products. 


     


    So instead of static images above each product shelf, those will become giant moving displays… 

  • Reply 18 of 39
    cnocbuicnocbui Posts: 3,613member


    Samsung's flexible OLED panels are also transparent.  This quality will be sparking as much interest as their flexibility.  They are also very tough, which alone would prove of interest to many companies.

  • Reply 19 of 39
    solipsismxsolipsismx Posts: 19,566member
    cnocbui wrote: »
    Samsung's flexible OLED panels are also transparent.  This quality will be sparking as much interest as their flexibility.  They are also very tough, which alone would prove of interest to many companies.
    Any info on the optical characteristics of the transparency? It's one thing to be allow light through that you can make out objects but another if you want to use is a windshield or glasses.
  • Reply 20 of 39
    jack99jack99 Posts: 157member

    Quote:

    Originally Posted by sleepy3 View Post


    Whoever said it was for phones?


     


    Tv's that are angled, wraparound displays in apple stores.....the applications are only limited by your imagination.....hence the reason we don't get paid the big bucks for making new products. 



     


     


    Now, now, don't say that. People on AI like to believe they're all destined to become the next Steve Jobs, or that the only reason they're not already is no one can handle their infinite intelligence. 


     


     


    image

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