Apple: iPhones still available for sale in China
The Apple Inc. logo is shown outside the company's 2016 Worldwide Developers Conference in San Francisco Reuters

Apple Inc is not backing down from the future smartphone race with Samsung Electronics Co Ltd as the California-based tech giant has reportedly been planning to manufacture a foldable phone. A concept that Samsung has been mulling over in the labs since 2016, the foldable smartphone is bound to be the next mobile device innovation to watch out for.

The 2019 iPhone could be a foldable device, the Investor reported on Thursday, October 12. According to The Bell, the original source of the report, Apple has been in talks with LG Display to provide the OLED screens. LG Innotek is also said to develop the RF PCB, or rigid-flexible printed-circuit board, for Apple.

Also read: Apple might ship around 5 million iPhone X units only in 2017

The foldable screens could start to enter mass production in 2018, a year before the expected release in 2019. Samsung, on the other hand, is expected to release the first foldable smartphone in 2018 based on earlier prototypes revealed since 2016.

It may not be hard for the iPhone maker to keep up with Samsung's pace since LG already has an existing foldable OLED panel prototype which it made three years ago. Apple and LG's deal might only entail some modifications to match iPhone branding and upgrade in durability and yield rate.

Also read: Apple seeks LG's help for OLED supply

Samsung has been the sole panel provider of Apple, and it remains uncertain if the partnership will continue until 2018. Nevertheless, there have already been previous reports of Apple and LG's meetings.

Apple is reportedly cutting ties with Samsung as OLED supplier at this time due to qualms over leaks. But previous reports underscored Samsung cannot keep up with Apple's massive demands since it is also using OLED panels for its high-end Galaxy phones.