Samsung begins production for Apple iPhone 13 LTPO displays: Report
Samsung has reportedly begun manufacturing high-tech LTPO displays for the upcoming iPhone 13 Pro and Pro Max models. Meanwhile, LG has also initiated production of traditional LTPS displays for the lower-end variants of next year's iPhone smartphones. The new LTPO-backplane technology used in the high-end models is a potential game changer that implements Apple's ProMotion variable refresh rate tech while reducing battery usage.
These OLED panels are equipped with Apple-designed Low-Temperature Polycrystalline Oxide (LTPO) backplane technology. Manufactured at Samsung's advanced OLED fabrication units, LTPO technology combines the speed of LTPS backplanes with the power-efficiency of the IGZO variety. On paper, this is expected to deliver up to 15 percent improved battery life. If that sounds confusing, you might want to read our LTPO explainer (https://bit.ly/3yTQNz2).
Notably, industry analyst Ming-Chi Kuo believes that the iPhone 13 line-up with 120Hz LTPO displays will launch sometime in the second half of 2021. Although the company had debuted 120Hz ProMotion displays in the 2017 iPad Pro, it didn't implement the technology in the corresponding iPhones due to battery life concerns. That's why it developed bespoke LTPO backplanes to improve display power efficiency.
Meanwhile, Korean electronics publication, The Elec, reports that Samsung and LG have initiated display production ahead of schedule on Apple's request to counter any pandemic-related delays. This comes after severe delays affecting the iPhone 12 launch last year. Another possible factor can be attributed to the LTPO manufacturing process being new and fraught with relatively lower yields, which might result in longer production times.
However, the power-saving LTPO OLED displays are unlikely to show up in the rest of the Apple line-up, such as the iPads. New display manufacturing processes generally tend to have low yields, which gets worse as display sizes become larger. Apple will most likely wait for Samsung's LTPO fabrication process to mature enough to be able to manufacture larger displays in a cost-effective manner.
In addition to high-tech LTPO displays featuring 120Hz variable refresh rate, the upcoming iPhone 13 line-up is rumored to feature a smaller notch. Some reports also predict slightly thicker bezels with deeper camera bumps. Analysts have predicted that LTPO displays could become the dominant display technology in the next two years. Brands such as OnePlus have already implemented clones in their flagship products.