Apple is reportedly asking its OLED suppliers Samsung Display and LG Display to develop OLED panels without any bezels. The move is two-pronged – initially, Apple wants to reduce the bezels on this year’s iPhone 15 Pro models – then, likely a few years down the line, Apple is looking to adopt full display. That means no camera cutout and as thin a bezel as possible.
That word possible is the key. At this time there are a few critical obstacles in front of Apple’s bezel-less plans. One is the under-panel camera (UPC) – currently the outer film layer isn’t as thin as it needs to be to accommodate an under-display camera. Then there’s the thin-film encapsulation (TFE), which protects the OLED from moisture and oxygen. It’s made by stacking an inorganic film and an organic film – the inorganic film blocks moisture and oxygen, while the organic film blocks gaps in the inorganic film.
The third issue is that Apple is keen on retaining the iPhone’s flat display, which makes it difficult to bend the screen circuits in the bottom bezel of the display. Apple reportedly doesn’t want a curved display because of the magnifying glass effect it has at the edges and because it sees curved screens as easier to break.
Those are all challenges in front of Apple’s display suppliers that mean a truly bezel-free iPhone is years down the road yet.