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Apple needs Samsung’s help to solve iPhone’s largest issue

The iPhone X notch is a display design compromise we might have to live with for a few more years, as Apple figures out a way to make a true all-screen iPhone, a device whose display extends from corner to corner with no bezel in sight.

To create such a phone, Apple would need to figure out how to place the TrueDepth camera system under the screen right alongside the speaker and sensors. It turns out that to pull that trick off, Samsung’s OLED display-making expertise might be crucial.

Samsung showed off a bunch of flexible and rollable OLED screens at SID Display Week, including a few innovations that could help Apple create a no-notch iPhone X.

Samsung demonstrated a 4.94-inch 360×112 transparent AMOLED panel with a transparency of 44 %, according to SamMobile. Transparent OLED screens are required for the selfie and Face ID cameras to work, although a 44 % transparency possibly doesn’t cut it.

More interestingly, Samsung unveiled an OLED screen that doubles as a speaker. Called “Sound on display,” the screen measures 6.22-inches and has a resolution of 2960 x 1440. Rather than placing the speaker under the screen, Apple could ever turn the entire screen into a speaker. LG also has familiar technology.

Samsung had other exciting OLED prototypes at the show, including a 7-inch 1280 x 800 light-field display that would offer the viewer access to glass-less 3-D.

Samsung also showcased a 14-inch 960 x 540 rollable OLED panel with a bending radius of 10R that might be used in different products, from automotive to mobile.

An “unbreakable” 6.22-inch display with 2960 x 1440 resolution made of plastic offers more endurance and targets the auto industry.

Finally, a 5.77-inch 2960 x 1440 panel that can work underwater came with a force sensor of its own — the “Aqua-force” OLED panel.

Notice, however, that all 2960 x 1440 displays shown off at the trade show have the same 2:1 aspect ratio that’s seen in many all-screen devices right now. And the sizes also suggest they could be adapted for mobile use.

Will Samsung beat Apple to market with a true all-screen iPhone rival? Well, Samsung is usually a fast follower, so Apple may still do it first. But it sure looks like Apple might not be able to pull off a no-notch iPhone without Samsung. On the other hand, we also have to remember that Apple is working with LG on a secret display project which it wants to keep hidden from its largest rival.

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