While the tech world is anticipating the arrival of the 2018 iPhone lineup, Apple is now reportedly plans to launch its first foldable iPhone model in 2020. This aligns with a previous report that suggested a close partnership between Apple and LG Display for building a foldable iPhone. The new design is expected to enable the Cupertino company to offer a phone that could transform into a tablet.
Bank of America Merrill Lynch, as per a report by CNBC, stated that Apple is working with its Asian partners to launch the rumoured foldable iPhone in 2020. Analyst Wamsi Mohan in a client note mentioned that the new iPhone model is may potentially double up as a tablet. The analyst notably prepared the note after meeting multiple Apple supply chain partners in the Asian region.
Importantly, this isn't the first time when Apple is in the headlines for making a foldable iPhone model. The company in 2017 was said to be working on the new design in partnership with LG Display. It was then reported that a special task force has been assigned to develop foldable OLED panels for a new iPhone model that is planned for 2020. Further, LG Innotek was also reportedly working with Apple engineers to create flexible printed circuit board aka RF PCB for the foldable model.
A patent application was additionally spotted in November that was filed with the US Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) in 2014. It showed some diagrams of Apple's foldable design. "An electronic device may have a flexible portion that allows the device to be folded. The device may have a flexible display. The flexible display may have a bending region that allows the display to bend along a bend axis when the device is folded," the company described in the application.
In addition to Apple, LG and Samsung also tested their native version of foldable devices. However, none of them have so far brought their developments publicly.
Meanwhile, Apple is widely expected to adopt the design of the iPhone X in the 2018 iPhone series as well. The new range is reported to include three new iPhone models - two of them with OLED displays, while one likely to come with an LCD panel. All three iPhone models are said to ditch the Touch ID support and include facial recognising Face ID that uses a TrueDepth camera system. Moreover, it is expected that the new iPhone family will debut in September, in line with the previous iPhone launches - with trial production projected for the second quarter.
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