For the moment, Apple does not seem to be interested in folding smartphones. However, according to rumors, the Cupertino company is already preparing its entry into this segment in a few years. And currently, it would already explore the technologies it could use.
For example, a few days ago we relayed a rumor that Apple would be working on a type of OLED screen, without polarizer, which would be suitable for its future devices with foldable screens. And recently, analyst Ming Chi Kuo tweeted that the firm would explore e-ink displays.
“Apple is testing e-ink’s electronic paper display (EPD) for its upcoming foldable device’s cover screen and tablet-like applications,” we read in this publication.
“The color EPD has the potential to become a consumer solution for the much-needed cover/second screen of foldable devices due to its excellent power saving”adds the analyst.
If the e-ink screen does not provide the same quality as OLED type screens, it does however consume little energy. Also, it is very suitable for displays that are permanently on or for secondary screens. And according to Kuo, Apple could use this technology for the cover display, which can be used when the foldable OLED display is closed.
As usual, for the moment, this is only a rumor and therefore caution is advised. But in any case, Apple would not be the first player in the smartphone industry to use e-ink on a smartphone.
A few years ago, the Russian brand YotaPhone was noticed by releasing a smartphone with two screens: a main LCD type screen on the front (the classic technology), and a secondary e-ink type screen on the back. We should also remember that e-ink is widely used for devices of the reading light.
Folding iPhone probably won’t come out this year or next
Either way, the folding iPhone or folding iPad isn’t expected to come out for a long time anyway. Ming Chi Kuo, who predicted a foldable iPhone release in 2024, revised his predictions in April. “I expected Apple to launch a foldable iPhone as soon as 2024 in my reports last year, but it’s now clear that this prediction needs to be revised. I predict that Apple could launch its first foldable product in 2025 at the earliest, which could be a foldable iPad or a hybrid of iPad and iPhone”had indicated the analyst.
This opinion is shared by Ross Young of DSCC. “We have delayed our expectations for Apple’s entry into the foldable smartphone market by two years to 2025 after discussions with our supply chain contacts. The company does not seem to be in a rush to enter the foldable smartphone market, and it may even take longer than that”he wrote in February.
Meanwhile, Samsung consolidates its leading position
While waiting for Apple to decide, Samsung is already fully on folding smartphones. The Korean giant released its first model in 2019 and in 2021 it finally saw its sales take off. Shipments grew 4x last year and by 2023 Samsung expects the market size to increase 10x.
In addition, Samsung is already exploring new formats, such as computers with foldable screens, or smartphones with roll-up screens.