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Could Future Apple iPhones Have OLED Displays That Bend?

Updated on May 15, 2016
Chriswillman90 profile image

Krzysztof is a lifelong future tech junkie investigating the latest stories from companies like Apple, Samsung, Google, and Amazon.

Curved screen of a Samsung Galaxy S6 Edge
Curved screen of a Samsung Galaxy S6 Edge | Source

The Apple iPhone OLED Display

Can it be possible? Could you roll up your Apple iPhone like a newspaper and stuff it anywhere you want?

Yes, yes you can...

Although we're a couple years removed from the folding iPhone, the technology is quickly catching up with rumors that the bendable OLED smartphone will begin with the iPhone 8 in 2018.

If you don't believe this is possible, then take a look at the rollable LG TV displayed at the Consumer Electronics Show in early 2016 (video below). In a few years this state-of-the-art exhibit will envelop laptops, televisions, and smartphones.

What's an OLED Screen


Brand New Screen

OLED, which stands for organic light emitting diodes takes the LED standard and uses organic compounds to emit light (through electricity) to generate brilliant, thin, and high-contrast color panels.

What is OLED TV?

It gets more technical than that but the most important thing you, the consumer, needs to know is that OLED produces images that are breathtaking. The colors are bold with absolute blacks achieved on screen because there's no backlight like on a LCD display.

This allows for very thin and light-weight screens that give you the desired image without the bulk. With this technology blooms the potential to develop ways to manipulate the picture that'll eventually lead to flexible products.

So far television screens are the easiest to manipulate because objects like smartphones rely on active-matrix or AMOLED screens (Samsung) or even worse a TFT-LCT display (iPhone) full of materials that are difficult to ruse around, but eventually they will also be transformed.

The iPhone 7 Design

The iPhone Without a Headphone Jack?

Apple is going to do the expected upgrading with a better processor, more efficient camera, and an increase in overall quality, but the biggest conversion will be in its design.

The company wants to make their smartphones thinner and lighter thus why their plan for removing the headphone jack makes perfect sense. It may seem drastic but it's about time that Apple step things up given their iPhone sales slowdown towards the end of 2015.

Apple iPhone Sales Flatline

Apple is embracing both Bluetooth headphones and their patented lightning connectors when it makes this shift.

Once the iPhone 7 is unveiled, it'll be sure to make a splash particularly against their Samsung competitor who are planning to release the Samsung Galaxy S7 and S7 Edge phones in the first quarter of 2016.

Samsung S7 Edge New Features

From what I've read they want to get the phone's thickness between 6.0 and 6.5 mm, which is something akin to the iPod touch, but that's merely the first step because to them the bigger picture goes far beyond making the phone a few millimeters thinner.

They aren't eliminating the staple that is the headphone jack for no reason, and I think it's clear the iPhone 7 marks phase one of their transition phase into malleable technology.

2018 iPhone 8 Concept

Competition Between Samsung and Apple

Samsung has been working on a patented flexible phone prototype, and so far they're ahead of the curve when it comes to bendable displays.

Samsung Patent for rollable smartphone designs

If Samsung manages to succeed in furthering their concept before Apple does, then they'll win the smartphone wars. There has never been anything more revolutionary in the display field than this, and it'll change mobile phones forever.

That's why Apple could start the process early by first introducing an OLED display for the iPhone 8 in 2018 that would certainly include a curved screen, however; this corporate giant doesn't like to to tread water, which is why a flexible iPhone is certainly plausible as well.

OLED iPhone 8 Rumors

The idea of an entirely rollable smartphone may take a few additional years, but we should never doubt innovation and ingenious ideas.

Samsung is presently ahead of the pack with their curved Edge phones, but Apple knows how to take a brilliant concept and package it for their buyers.

I think in the end Apple will take the win over Samsung in the architecture category.

Benefits of Flexible Smartphones


What's the Point of a Flexible Display?

Why do we want to have a flexible smartphone and is there a point?

There are skeptics who feel that a bendable display serves no purpose other than novelty, but I strongly disagree.

What is your biggest fear when owning an mobile device beyond poor service?

I know mine is durability and cost, which go hand-in-hand if you think about it. You want your phone to last, you don't want it to crack, and you don't want it to get destroyed. A flexible display would incorporate various plastic materials that'll be more durable than glass screens.

It'll also allow the phone to be much lighter and thinner so you don't have to worry about breakage or wear and tear.

A rollable display also allows for even easier portability and creative functionality. From a design standpoint, it can enable a creation of new phone shapes and internal applications that would never be possible with a standard mobile device.

Even if this technology doesn't offer immense practicality, it would still set a futuristic precedent that no smartphone has ever witnessed.

That alone makes a flexible display worth it.

Challenges and Disadvantages


High Cost of Manufacturing

One of the biggest challenges in creating flexible displays is the cost of manufacturing and production.

When this technology becomes available and is introduced onto smartphones, then you can expect the initial price of said phone to be very high to the point where it's out of reach for most consumers.

What you should know about flexible displays

Of course that's nothing new when something revolutionary is generated, but it'll take time before costs begin to decline.

The other disadvantage is developing the device.

The components of a smartphone are going to be very difficult to maneuver when incorporating a flexible display. The batteries would have to be redesigned to match the curved screen along with new plastic/glass materials that can function within the innards of the phone.

Such a costly and lengthy process is why the iPhone 8 would easily be the costliest iPhone by a significant margin. There's no other way around it if Apple wants to make this happen.

The Evolution and Future of Mobile Technology


The Future of the iPhone

We've already mastered the smartphone, but there's always something out-of-the-box that creators want to introduce.

So what's the next step?

Well several theories are that smartphones will only get more powerful, be entirely flexible (rollable), and introduce stunning concepts like texting by thinking through sensor/visor technology when the fifth generation of mobile telecommunications (5G standard) comes to fruition by 2020.

Although maybe everyone is rushing things a tad, but I digress.

Regardless of speed we're living in an exciting time, and the future is brimming with possibilities. The speed of innovation is moving so rapidly that OLED displays are already considered to be old news while the next, big thing is presently in the works.

But if you're not ready for science fiction, then you can have a taste of scientific fact when the iPhone 8 rolls out (no pun intended) with their most ingenious creation yet.

The OLED bendable smartphones are almost here, are you ready?

Your Turn!

What's the greatest benefit of a flexible smartphone?

See results


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    • m abdullah javed profile image

      muhammad abdullah javed 

      3 years ago

      True, it has to be. Today's technology is quite fascinating.

    • Chriswillman90 profile imageAUTHOR

      Krzysztof Willman 

      3 years ago from Parlin, New Jersey

      Thank you so much. When I first saw the rollable LG TV prototype I was amazed, so to see it eventually be applied to other devices is outstanding.

    • m abdullah javed profile image

      muhammad abdullah javed 

      3 years ago

      Brilliant hub chris, its interesting and tempting as well. Wish I could get the one. Thanks for sharing.


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