Apple could be getting into the foldable phone game. According to a Bank of America analyst quoted in a report from CNBC, the next major redesign of the iPhone will come in the form of a foldable form factor. The report notes that Apple may already be working with suppliers to create the new phone, which wouldn’t be released until 2020.
It’s important to note that just because Apple is working on a foldable iPhone, that doesn’t mean we’ll actually see it in 2020 — or anytime after that. Samsung has been working on a foldable device for a while now, and many rumors suggest that it may be released to the public this year. If it’s successful, speculation is that Apple likely won’t want to be far behind.
OLED displays are largely to thank for the rise of the foldable concept phone. OLED displays can be flexible because of the fact that they’re made up of individual pixels. Apple has even started adopting OLED displays — the display in the new iPhone X is an OLED display.
The news isn’t all that surprising. In 2016, we learned that Apple had been awarded a patent for a foldable device. The patent highlighted the use of an OLED display, and had a clamshell form factor. Given that patent, it’s possible that the design of the phone could end up similar to that of the ZTE Axon M, which is a dual-screen device that folds out so it can be used like one big screen. The Axon M is a little inelegant, so if Apple’s device does mimic ZTE’s design, we think it’ll be a little more refined.
A foldable iPhone could end up being a very interesting product. The Bank of America analyst suggested that the device could be folded out to be used like an iPad. Many consider the foldable form factor to be the next major change in smartphone technology. Not only could such a device be folded out to offer larger displays, effectively rendering tablets useless, but it could also fold into smaller form factors that are easier to carry and much more portable.