Apple is expected to use ‘hybrid’ OLED panels in its first OLED iPad that it will launch a few years from now, TheElec has learned.
Hybrid OLED panels refer to OLED panels that use both rigid OLED panel and flexible OLED panel technologies.
Rigid OLED panels use glass as substrates while flexible OLED panels use plastics __ mostly polyimide __ that are encapsulated for protection.
A hybrid OLED panel uses a glass substrate like rigid OLED panels do but also uses the thin-film encapsulation of flexible OLED panels.
Sources said Apple isn’t too keen on using flexible OLED panels __ which are mostly used in premium smartphones __ some parts of the screen may look crumpled.
This characteristic isn’t noticeable on smaller screens on smartphones, which are around 6 inches, but becomes noticeable in larger screens on tablets and PCs, which range from 10 to 20 inches, they said. Cupertino is known for its dedication to the design of its products, which is one of the appeals of iPhones and iPads.
The crumples are likely caused by how flexible OLED panels are made. During their production, glass substrates. Polyimide varnishes in liquid form are deposited on top of the substrate and the glass is later removed through lasers. The remaining solidified polyimide is the plastic substrate. During the laser removable, some parts of the polyimide may be warped from the heat.
Hybrid OLED panels are thinner than rigid ones and are expected to be cheaper to mass produce than flexible ones.
However, flexbile OLED panels have an advantage in product design as they are flexible. Apple currently uses only flexible OLED panels for its iPhones. Cupertino may ultimately decide to use fully flexible OLED panels if their shortcomings can be solved.
Samsung Display and LG Display are currently developing an ultra-thin glass substrate for use in hybrid OLED panels.
They are attempting to make glass substrates that are 2mm thin, instead of the 5mm ones currently mostly used. The technology is currently not near the commercialization stages and will take at least a year from now to develop.