Apple’s patent for a foldable phone may become a reality after all.
A Bank of America Merrill Lynch analyst concluded Friday, based on checks with suppliers, that the Cupertino technology giant is actually working on a foldable iPhone for release in 2020.
“Apple is working with suppliers on a foldable phone for launch in 2020,” the report said. A foldable iPhone could double up as a tablet, the firm added.
Analyst Wamsi Mohan reiterated in a note to clients Friday that 2018 iPhones will remain largely unchanged from the OLED versions sans some screen size changes.
Bank of America reiterates its buy rating for Apple shares.
A report from Korean-language The Bell from October 2017 first mentioned that a foldable phone could arrive by 2020. According to that report, LG had created a task force to develop a foldable OLED screen for a future iPhone (iPhone X uses a flexible, not foldable panel). LG’s sister firm LG Innotek had reportedly set up a team dedicated to developing a flexible printed circuit board required for a bendable iPhone, said the report.
However, a foldable iPhone may be just a pipe dream.
For starters, it’s not exactly clear which benefits, if any, a foldable phone would bring to the table in terms of the overall user experience and portability. More importantly, Samsung has been banging the foldable phone drum for years, with little success.
The South Korean giant publicly promised to launch a foldable smartphone in 2017, but it did not keep true to that promise. Now Samsung is saying that a foldable phone is still in the works but it no longer mentions a timeframe.
Apple is notoriously tight-lipped on its future hardware plans so take this report with a grain of salt. Are foldable phones the next major form factor for the smartphone, do you think?