It looks like Apple is set to jump on the foldable phones bandwagon with an upcoming new iPhone that could be announced in less than a year, and make its debut within a year and a half.
The report comes from an interview with William LaCourse, a professor of glass science at Alfred University, as well as information provided from Corning, the company who supplies Apple with the sturdy Gorilla Glass for its iPhones.
Corning says it's "actively developing...glass-based products" for foldable devices which it says will be on the market "within the next 12 to 18 months." If it's developing foldable Gorilla Glass, Apple could very well be using the technology in an upcoming iPhone - something LaCourse agrees with. He speculates that based on a launch in 12-18 months, we're "less than a year away from an announcement" of a foldabe device from Apple.
- Best iPhone (opens in new tab)
- iPhone 12 leak reveals Apple has a Galaxy S20-beating ace up its sleeve (opens in new tab)
Samsung was the first to market with a foldable smartphone but botched the job in its haste, resulting in the slew of problems (opens in new tab) that the Galaxy Fold (opens in new tab) contended with, like a peeling screen and hinge issues.
Since then, Huawei has launched its Mate X (opens in new tab) in China and has confirmed that it's bringing its improved iteration of the handset, the Mate Xs (opens in new tab) to the west. Motorola's clamshell foldable, the Razr (opens in new tab), has also made its debut at long last, while Samsung has followed suit with a second foldable, also utilising the clamshell form factor, with its Galaxy Z Flip (opens in new tab) that was announced at Unpacked this month and is already on the market.
What will Apple's attempt at a foldable phone look like? Will it do a compact clamshell, or a the more bookish design? Concept designer Antonio De Rosa (opens in new tab) mocked up a folding smartphone and Apple-style ad for YouTube channel ConceptsiPhone (opens in new tab) and it looks pretty swish, if a little boring by now. Take a look:
LaCourse thinks Apple may skip foldable iPhones (opens in new tab) altogether and jump straight to a larger device, like a tablet, to avoid running into the problems that are still plaguing foldables even now, as demonstrated in these teardown videos of the Razr and Galaxy Z Flip (opens in new tab). When not constricted to something as small as a smartphone, the glass can be thicker, meaning the folding area will be more robust.
Whatever its plan, Apple will need to put its own unique stamp on its foldable device and deliver on performance and durability so that it has something more than a novelty that falls apart if you look at it funny. The company has filed patents for wraparound screen concepts (opens in new tab) before, so we're excited to see what it brings to the table.
Source: Protocol (opens in new tab)