Apple is working on its own folding phone according to suppliers and other well-placed sources. Samsung has delivered foldable displays to Apple who totally missed the boat on larger smartphones and lost their early-mover advantage in the smartphone business. Leapfrogged again by the Samsung Fold and Huawei Mate X, Apple is now playing catch up.
Apple has been looking at folding devices for some time. It has received patents for a variety of supporting tech such as a heating element to avoid displays becoming brittle in cold weather and another for flexible batteries. So, the move isn’t completely surprising.
And reports over the weekend, say Samsung has supplied Apple and Google with foldable displays – albeit 0.1-inches smaller than the one used in the Galaxy Fold.
But Samsung and Huawei moving ahead this year has potentially accelerated Apple’s plans. Last year’s release of the iPhone XS, iPhone XS Max and iPhone XR was a relatively small update, building on the more substantial release made the year before when the iPhone X was introduced.
Given Apple’s general pattern has been to follow larger changes with smaller, incremental ones in alternate years, a folding device seems like a reasonable prediction.
There are also strong rumours that iOS 13 will represent a major upgrade of Apple’s mobile, and most widely used, operating system. If Apple is preparing massive changes to iOS to bring it into line with what today’s smartphone users expect, adding in the requisite support for a folding screen makes a lot of sense.
The challenge for Apple will be adding the new software support for folding displays into iOS 13 and keeping g it hidden during WWDC when the new OS is revealed to the world. Perhaps Apple will sneak in a famous Steve Jobs “One more thing…” and announce the folding iPhone, showing off a pre-release version during the WWDC opening keynote.