Technology

Apple Is Working On A Galaxy X Rival. Here’s The Proof

Galaxy X, one of the most innovative phones from Samsung, has been making appearances on various regulatory sites for months. Samsung’s mobile business head DJ Koh has also teased the foldable smartphone. The new smartphone with a folding display could debut as early as next year in some markets. Apple seems to have its own plans for foldable phones. The Cupertino company is working on a Galaxy X rival, which is still a few years away.

Apple Foldable Phone Galaxy X Rival
Image Credit: Apple Inc. / USPTO (screenshot)

Apple’s Galaxy X rival won’t launch before 2020

A few weeks ago, Korean site The Investor reported that Apple was already working on an iPhone with a ‘foldable display.’ The folding device could help Apple pack a bigger screen without increasing the iPhone’s form factor. Apple is so secretive about its Galaxy X rival phone that it has opted to work with LG rather than Samsung. Apple fears that Samsung could steal the folding iPhone’s design.

The Investor added that LG plans to start the panel production from 2020. LG Display has created a dedicated team to develop a foldable OLED panel for the iPhone. Meanwhile, LG Innotek has set up a task force to develop the rigid flexible printed circuit board (RFPCB). Now there is yet another proof that Apple is developing a foldable iPhone.

The Cupertino company has filed a patent with the US Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) that details how the Galaxy X rival would work. Titled Electronic Devices With Flexible Displays, the patent was filed in September 2016. It describes the use of an optically clear flexible adhesive and an amorphous metal or a shape memory alloy to fold the display in half.

The patent application mentioned Liquidmetal as a potential material. Apple has been holding rights to the Liquidmetal technologies for years, but hasn’t yet put them to good use. According to the patent document, the foldable iPhone could be “opened and closed like a book.” Apple says the flexible screen could have a “bending region” that would allow the display to bend when the phone is folded.

The patent documents also mentioned the use of Micro LED screens similar to the one Apple uses in the Apple Watch. Micro LED screens are expected to eventually replace the LCD and OLED displays used in the current iPhones. A schematic accompanying the patent document shows that the folding iPhone would sport an all-screen design.

The display would bend around a bend axis. A central flexible area will separate the two screen halves that will likely be flat. The two halves of the screen would face each other or would be away from each other depending on how users fold the phone. The patent application is a clear proof that Apple is preparing to launch a Galaxy X rival, but the device is unlikely to arrive until 2020.

Galaxy X to be officially unveiled next year

The Galaxy X, on the other hand, will debut next year, according to DJ Koh. The rumor mill claims Samsung could show off its foldable smartphone at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in January next year. The phone has already been certified by the Korean regulators, WiFi Alliance, and the Bluetooth SIG. A few days ago, Samsung accidentally confirmed the existence of the Galaxy X by putting a support page online.

Being developed under the Project Valley, the Galaxy X is referred to as a “smartlet” by Samsung employees. It is said to have a 7-inch screen when unfolded and 5-inch when folded. The phone is expected to launch only in South Korea initially. Depending on the consumer response in its home country, Samsung could bring the device to international markets in 2019 or 2020.

We haven’t yet seen any concrete and reliable supply chain leaks about the Galaxy X. Almost all the information about the device circulating in the media comes from patent filings, its appearances on regulatory portals, and comments from a few Samsung executives. As is the case with most smartphones, we will likely come across tons of supply chain leaks about the device ahead of its launch.

Students worked overtime to assemble the iPhone X

While Apple is prepping to launch a Galaxy X rival, its manufacturing partners are struggling to produce the latest iPhone X in sufficient quantities. According to the Financial Times, Apple’s partner Foxconn had employed thousands of high school students in Zhengzhou, China to assemble the iPhone X. The students, aged between 17-19, were required to work up to 11 hours per day. The hours violated the Chinese law, which allows students to work no more than 40 hours a week.

One student told the Financial Times that she was assembling up to 1,200 iPhone X cameras per day. Apple said the students worked “voluntarily” and they were “compensated and provided benefits.” However, the Cupertino company admitted that the students “should not have been allowed to work overtime.” Foxconn has now stopped students from working overtime in China.