Samsung mulling over screen covers of future Mac laptops with foldable display as Apple wants ultrathin glass
While Apple is reportedly demanding ultrathin glass (UTG) as display cover for its future Mac laptops with foldable display, Samsung is testing both UTG and polyimide (PI) film layers, tips Korean media. Currently, Samsung's foldable phones from the Flip and Fold lines are all shipped with ultrathin glass covers as they provide superior visibility.
On larger foldable displays of 10-20 inches, however, UTG covers are potentially a worse choice as they are more brittle than PI films. That is why, claim industry insiders, Samsung remains unconvinced it has to put all of its eggs in the UTG basket, Apple's desires notwithstanding, and is actively testing both plastic and glass covers for its foldable displays that are destined to go into laptops or tablets. "Even in this case, it is expected that the final decision will be made after comprehensive evaluation of cover window material cost, mass production, and durability," says the report.
LG, whose specialty are larger OLED displays, is already supplying foldable panels for IT applications like the one for the 2022 HP laptop with bendy display. The first foldable Asus ZenBook uses a BOE screen with PI film cover, and ditto for HP's rumored 17-inch laptop whose LG-made panel allegedly bends to fold it into a device with a footprint akin to an 11-incher.
Samsung recently announced that it will start mass production of larger OLED displays for laptops and tablets at its 8.5-gen factory in 2024, and will thus be well-positioned to ship screens for any MacBooks with foldable displays that could launch in 2025. The 8.5-gen OLED panels are cut from larger sheets than the 6th-gen screens in current flagship phones, achieving better economies of scale.
LG is also in the running as screen supplier for an eventual MacBook with foldable display that is rumored for a 2025 release, so Samsung will have to decide soon which direction it wants to go with the cover film of its own OLED laptop panels with flexible plastic substrates.
LG is also prepping an 8.5-gen OLED factory production onslaught, as is BOE, so for the MacBook with flexible screen Apple may be able to diversify with the same three OLED display suppliers that provide it with iPhone screens.