Humble iPhone 13 buyers may not get 120Hz refresh, but Apple'd still throw in a display treat
Apple will apparently be tasking LG with more responsibility for producing iPhone displays going forward, as it is now only churning out panels for the cheaper iPhone 12 models. The Elec is reporting that LG Display will be greatly expanding its capacity for producing modern LTPO OLED displays and industry sources claim that's what "Apple is planning to apply for next year's new iPhone top model."
Wait, what? Could LG be augmenting Samsung as an Apple OLED display supplier for next year's iPhone 13 models, or whatever Apple names them? It sounds like it, as LG wouldn't be expanding capacity of its "Apple line" on the conveyor belts without getting direct approval from Cupertino, both in terms of quality and of quantity. Currently, LG is said to produce more than 20 million iPhone 12 and 12 Pro panels, with the Chinese from BOE waiting in the wings to pick up the slack.
Last year, Apple tried to move away from Samsung by probing LG and BOE but their yield wasn't nearly enough for anything but small batches or repair parts, so Samsung again got the lion's share of iPhone OLED supply orders. Now, however, Apple is apparently confident that LG is finally up to the task, and Korean media reports that it has ordered 20+ million 6.1" iPhone 12/Pro panels from it.
The 5.4" and 6.7" iPhone 12 mini and 12 Max models have flexible OLED displays supplied exclusively by Samsung, and with the more expensive integrated touch module that Samsung calls Y-Octa. The 6.1" OLED screen supplies, on the other hand, shared with LG, are said to carry an extra touch layer to keep costs down.
So far so good, LG Display has perhaps risen up to the occasion, and managed to supply OLED panels with enough quality consistency that Apple is ready to task it with more iPhones' screens, too, in its quest to diversify from Samsung as a supplier. The more interesting part of the report, however, is that LG will be expanding the LTPO not LTPS capacity.
The current iPhone 12 series sports LTPS screens, while phones with quality adaptive high refresh rate support have displays of the LTPO variety - think the Galaxy Note 20 Ultra, OnePlus 8 Pro or the Oppo Find X2 Pro - and perhaps that's what coming to future iPhones, too.
Apple iPhone 13 display specs
It's not the first time we are hearing that only the top iPhone 13 models would sport top refresh rates for their displays, too. A previous rumor from famed Apple analyst Ming-Chi Kuo confirmed that Apple will postpone 120Hz for the iPhone 13 series, but display industry analyst Ross Young clarified that the upcoming ProMotion panels will only apply to the iPhone 13 Pro models.
Most important development on the iPhone 13 models from my perspective will be ProMotion with variable refresh rates through LTPO adoption on the Pro models.— Ross Young (@DSCCRoss) October 2, 2020
LG's LTPO panel expansion efforts now make much more sense. As you can see in the iPhone 13 specs table here, LG will supply panels for both 6.1" iPhone 13 models, but perhaps only the 13 Pro would have variable refresh rate employed and activated to set it apart from the more affordable iPhone 13.
There's still plenty of time for Apple to adjust its iPhone 13 plans, though, plus the iPhone 13 and the 13 mini will be getting the big sensor from this year's 12 Pro Max, so the cosmic balance will be restored.
Not to mention that LTPO panels consume much less energy than LTPS ones, so for the iPhone 13 Apple won't have to chose between 5G and 120Hz any more in terms of battery life, like it had to this year with the iPhone 12 models.
04 Oct, 2021iPhone 13 series battery life revealed
14 Sep, 2021Last-minute leak tells all you need to know about iPhone 13
12 Sep, 2021Apple insider gives mini-preview of Tuesday iPhone 13 California Streaming event Latest iPhone 13 and iPhone 13 Pro leaks reveal potential storage, color options
09 Sep, 2021LG takes over most iPhone 13 camera production as sensor-shift tech is tipped again