Apple has begun selecting its partners that will develop components and materials for next year's iPhone. It's predicted that these components and materials will begin production in May 2017. Apple's next iPhone will have an OLED display for the first time. Businesses are fiercely competing each other to win orders from Apple.
After selecting Samsung Display in first half of this year to be the supplier of OLED display, Apple is currently looking for suppliers of FPCB (Flexible Printed Circuit Board) that will be used for OLED display. Not only is Apple looking at performance and qualities of possible partners' products but it is looking at everything such as supply capability and situation of management very closely.
A component industry representative told the Korean publication that "We are currently pushing to supply our new products for Apple's OLED iPhone. It seems that a decision will be made during fourth quarter."
Apple is also looking for suppliers of materials that will be used to compose OLED displays. A representative for an OLED material industry told the publication that "We are looking to supply our materials to Apple and it seems like we will receive a decision in September or October."
New component makers are thrilled to have an opportunity to get onboard Apple's new supply chain due to their shift to OLED displays. Potential suppliers understand that Apple's move to OLED may start with next year's iPhone but is likely to move into iPad production thereafter. If a company becomes part of Apple's supply chain, it will receive huge amount of benefits and abilities to occupy markets in advance in the future.
Some analysts are predicting that Apple will first apply OLED displays to their higher end iPhone Plus model [or iPhone Pro] first to create demand for the higher-priced model.
And lastly the Korean report noted that while Apple is expected to offer a new design that includes curved edges, it will have a design with different curvatures to differentiate it from anything Samsung is offering.
Did anyone seriously think that Apple would ever copy a Samsung smartphone design? Ha! – such a thought is simply ludicrous. Apple has a few curved glass patents on record as well as one for a display with sidewalls and whatever design that Ive's team has dreamed up, we could be assured it will be a leading original design.
You could review Apple's other patents on record covering flexible displays here.