LG Display has picked up Apple, Google, and Microsoft as some of the first customers for foldable OLED displays it plans to put into mass production in 2018, a Korean report claimed on Friday.
The company has already produced a prototype of an "out-foldable" panel, ETNews said. The technology is expected to make its way into smartphones, possibly even into devices that can serve as both phones and tablets, since by its nature foldable OLED can allow a device to expand like a book or map.
The report didn't elaborate on further details, but noted that LG Electronics was actually late to signing on as a buyer, despite being a connected company.
Apple has applied for multiple patents on foldable devices, but nothing has come to market, in part because the technology is still in its infancy. Even simple curved OLED displays are rare — Apple is rumored to be putting out its first iPhone model with one in 2017.
If Apple is already placing orders, that would suggest it already has product designs in mind, though likely just tentative ones. One possibility is a new Apple Watch, since foldable OLED could make it more comfortable to wear and/or offer a bigger display. Apple is also rumored to be working on augmented reality technology, and even iPhones and iPads could benefit, taking on new shapes.