LG starts making 4-inch display maybe destined for iPhone 5

LG is making a display with new "in-cell" tech that could land on the iPhone, according to a report.

Brooke Crothers Former CNET contributor
Brooke Crothers writes about mobile computer systems, including laptops, tablets, smartphones: how they define the computing experience and the hardware that makes them tick. He has served as an editor at large at CNET News and a contributing reporter to The New York Times' Bits and Technology sections. His interest in things small began when living in Tokyo in a very small apartment for a very long time.
Brooke Crothers
2 min read
A mockup of the iPhone 5.
A mockup of the iPhone 5. Overdrive Design

LG Display has begun to make a display that could be slated for the iPhone 5, according to a Reuters report.

"We just began mass production and we don't expect any disruption in supplies," Han Sang-beom, chief executive of LG Display, told reporters Wednesday, according to Reuters.

LGD, along with Samsung, are the two principal display suppliers for Apple's marquee products, such as the iPhone and iPad.

Other reports, however, have Sharp making the displays for the iPhone 5. And Toshiba has also been rumored as a display supplier for the iPhone 5.

It's not unusual for Apple -- or any major device maker -- to get components, such as displays, from multiple sources.

Whomever makes the display, Apple appears to be trying to match an industry-wide movement toward larger displays and is expected to adopt a 4-inch screen for the iPhone 5. The iPhone has traditionally had a 3.5-inch display.

Samsung's latest, hottest smartphone, the Galaxy S III, has 4.8-inch Super AMOLED display, for instance.

Apple's iPhone 5 is expected to use a new display tech called in-cell touch. "Apple is expected to incorporate in-cell touch in combination with LTPS [Low Temperature Polycrystalline silicon] TFT [thin-film-transistor] LCD on the iPhone5, which is expected in 2H'12," said DisplaySearch in a recent research note.

"In terms of expectations for the iPhone 5, LTPS TFT LCD production will increase with new [plants] added in 2H'12," the note said.

In-cell multitouch technology integrates touch into the thin-film transistor LCD manufacturing process, obviating the need for additional sensors and glass. This reduces the weight of the device, among other benefits.

Currently, on the iPhone and other phones a layer of glass separates the liquid crystal and the touch parts of the display. In-cell eliminates that layer of glass, combining the LCD and touch.

The next iPhone could be announced as soon as next month.