According to Bank of America analysts, we may soon see a foldable phone from Apple – perhaps as a successor to the iPhone 11.
While these reports seem credible, it’s important to take any sort of leak or rumor with a grain of salt ahead of any official announcement. During the development process, there’s always the potential for things to change and release dates to be pushed back, but in the next couple of generations, we may see a foldable phone from Apple. The analyst suggested that we might not see the tech debut until 2020, which means it won’t be coming for a couple of years yet. Still, the fact that we may see Apple take yet another design departure with the successors to the iPhone 11 speaks volumes about the company’s commitment to keeping things fresh and introducing new ideas to their product family.
Although a foldable phone from Apple as a successor to the iPhone 11 might not be that far away, they are unlikely to beat Samsung to the market when it comes to developing a foldable phone. With the foldable Galaxy X in development for quite some time, it would be unlikely that a release a product generation or two after the iPhone 11 could manage to upstage Samsung with their own upcoming version expected to release much sooner. Still, the introduction of something as radical as a foldable phone might do wonders for Apple and help breathe life into a line of phones that have generally kept to the same sort of formula – outside of the iPhone X, of course.
With the iPhone 11 and the two other parts of the trio of new phones expected in the fall of this year, Apple stands ready to make their innovative FaceID technology a main part of their line moving forward. A foldable phone following the release of the iPhone 11 and subsequent generation would be a much more drastic change than the introduction of the FaceID technology, and it’s up for debate whether it would become a staple of the line moving forward, or if it would be an offshoot like we’ll likely see with the release of the Galaxy X. We anticipate, however, that it will be a supplement to the normal line rather than a whole new direction entirely.
The rumors regarding the release of a foldable phone from Apple surfaced originally last year when Apple was apparently working with LG in an effort to research foldable screen technology. That has never been confirmed, but considering we’re once again seeing a prediction and there was some relatively reliable information late last year, it’s certainly possible we’ll see a 2020 release of a foldable phone following the iPhone 11.
However, some are not so sure whether a 2020 release date is feasible given the fact that Apple may have started researching the technology just a little while ago. While foldable technology with the Galaxy X has been a priority for Samsung for quite some time – even though they did a decent job of keeping it under wraps until recently – Apple is a relative newcomer to the foldable phone game. It’s clear they see potential in the idea, however, and given the fact that the iPhone X was the fastest selling iPhone in history, they’re keenly aware that innovation can drive some major sales numbers. With the iPhone 11, the company is rumored to be starting production much earlier than they were previously, so the lower sales numbers from the iPhone X due to product shortages shouldn’t be nearly as much of an issue with the iPhone 11.
Perhaps what will enable Apple to make their first foldable phone is the upcoming shift to OLED screens. LCD panels have been a staple for Apple for quite a while – long after many companies like competitor Samsung made the jump to OLED. The OLED technology has an advantage in that it’s made up of independent pixels which by nature are more flexible. The OLED screen on the iPhone X is actually relatively flexible – even if it’s enclosed in a rigid body. The technology is not at the point it needs to be to support a foldable phone, but the company has the basics there that they can then expand upon in the generations following the iPhone 11.
A foldable phone means much more than just a flexible display. With flexible circuit boards, batteries, memory, and more, it’s clear that there’s a significant amount of research and development that needs to go into the product in order to guarantee a viable, foldable phone. Apple has a reputation to uphold for quality products that generally work easier and more reliably than some of their competition, so it’s clear that a lot of development time is required in order to see that they can both make a reliable foldable phone and provide an adequate supply like they’re planning to do with the iPhone 11.
All in all, it’s going to be quite some time before we see a foldable phone from Apple, and it’s very unlikely they will beat competitors like Samsung to be the first high-end flagship to feature this brand new tech. These rumors are all speculative, so we’ll have to wait until we get closer to a potential release date to get an idea of whether we’ll actually see a foldable phone from the tech giant in the years to come.