Apple is planning to use advanced micro-LED display in its wearable devices, fuelling speculation that the company would cut its dependence on Samsung.
Apple relies on Samsung for curved OLED screen to be used in it upcoming iPhone 8 that is due later this year.
"Apple is working very hard to foster the micro-LED technology ... the company could push the use of new display tech as early as next year," an executive with knowledge of display technology told the Nikkei Asian Review.
"At this point, Apple is the only company who is able to roll out micro-LED, a technology that is still at an early stage of development, and cover the high costs incurred by the low yield rate," said the executive.
The official continued it is unlikely the smartphones would feature micro-LED due to technical issues.
Another executive working with Apple supply chain told Nikkei that Apple would be using micro-LED for wearables.
Roger Chu, analyst at research institution LEDinside, believes Apple's move to create the next-generation display could be part of its efforts to curb its reliance on Samsung.
OLED offers sharper colour contrast than LTPS used in iPhones. It can provide brighter colour contrast and be more power efficient than other display technologies. Like the OLED display, micro-LED can be flexible and foldable.
"With micro-LED, Apple is looking to bestow brand-new products with unique designs to really differentiate itself from rivals such as Samsung," Eric Chiou, an analyst at research company WitsView, told Nikkei.
By 2020, about 50% of the smartphones will have OLED display, with Samsung the top supplier controlling 50% of the global smartphone capacity.