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To create the iPhone 14 Pro’s display with the pill-shaped cutout at the top, Apple requested that Samsung, the company’s leading display supplier, use a more advanced production method that would protect the surrounding display from possible damage and loss of image quality, according to a new report by The Elec.
The iPhone 14 Pro and iPhone 14 Pro Max are the first iPhones to feature a cutout directly within the display, unlike other iPhones, which have a notch protruding downward from the top bezel. The report says Apple asked Samsung to use additional inkjet equipment when producing its high-end iPhone displays to create the cutout while preserving the surrounding OLED panel.
To create the pill-shaped cutout within the display, Samsung must drill the pill-shaped hole directly within the OLED panel, but doing so means there is a possibility the surrounding pixels and panels could get damaged and, if so, exposed to moisture and oxygen. To prevent possible exposure to moisture and oxygen, the report says Samsung built a dam that separated the pill-shaped cutout from the surrounding pixels. From a machine-translated copy of the report:
This is because of the first hole display applied to the iPhone 14 Pro lineup. To make a hole for the front camera lens, etc, at the top of the OLED screen, a hole must be drilled in the post-process (module process). If the thin film encapsulation is damaged, the OLED is exposed to moisture and oxygen, and the life span of the product is drastically shortened.
For this reason, Samsung Display is known to have used inkjet equipment to build a dam that separates the hole from the rest of the area after making thin film encapsulation and touch electrodes in the iPhone 14 Pro lineup OLED, and to flatten areas with uneven heights. Samsung Display was able to carry out this process using a laser rather than inkjet equipment, but it is said that Apple preferred the inkjet method.
Samsung has extensive experience in producing displays, including those with cutouts. The company’s own line of smartphone feature single hole-punch cutouts that house the front-facing camera. With the iPhone 14 Pro, however, the report suggests Apple took extra care with the production of the displays for the iPhone 14 Pro and iPhone 14 Pro Max to ensure the cutout wouldn’t interfere with the surrounding pixels and degrade image quality.
The Elec says LG Display, Apple’s other display supplier, also used the same method for its batch of displays for the iPhone 14 Pro and iPhone 14 Pro Max. The iPhone 14 and iPhone 14 Plus feature the same display notch as previous iPhones, but the lower-end models of next year’s iPhone lineup are rumored to feature the same pill-shaped cutout for Dynamic Island as the iPhone 14 Pro.