Bank of America Analyst Says Apple Plans to Launch Foldable iPhone in 2020

Discussion in ' News Discussion' started by MacRumors, Mar 23, 2018.

  1. MacRumors macrumors bot


    Apr 12, 2001

    Apple plans to launch a foldable iPhone two years from now, according to Wamsi Mohan, an analyst at Bank of America Merrill Lynch.

    A fan-made foldable iPhone concept

    Mohan shared his prediction in a research note obtained by CNBC after spending a week in Asia meeting with companies in Apple's supply chain. He expects the foldable iPhone will launch in 2020 and said it could potentially "double up as a tablet," suggesting the device could expand to have an iPad-like form factor.

    This isn't the first time we've heard this rumor. Back in December 2016, a Korean report said LG Display was developing and mass-producing foldable displays for smartphones. And, as of October 2017, it appears that LG Display has reached an agreement to supply Apple with its foldable displays for future iPhones.

    LG has shown off various futuristic-looking curved and foldable display prototypes over the past three years, including one with a book-like design and another that can be rolled up like a newspaper. Both designs take advantage of the flexible property of OLED displays, compared to rigid LCD screens.

    For that reason, the iPhone X is a good start on the path towards a foldable iPhone, should one ever materialize.

    While not visible, the iPhone X actually has a flexible OLED display that curves behind itself on the inside of the device. The curved portion houses the display controller chip, and this clever engineering feat allows the iPhone X to have a slimmer bottom bezel, which is normally where the chip is located.

    iPhone X's flexible OLED display

    A foldable iPhone would require further innovation. If the device can be rolled up like a newspaper, then components like the logic board and battery would need to be flexible enough to bend rather than buckle. But if it only folds in half, then components could still be rigid and connected with flex cables.

    Apple applied for a foldable display patent last year and is likely researching ways to create a foldable iPhone, but that doesn't guarantee we'll ever see a consumer-facing product. 2020 might be an overly ambitious timeframe, too, but technology can change a lot in two years, so we'll have to wait and see.

    Article Link: Bank of America Analyst Says Apple Plans to Launch Foldable iPhone in 2020
  2. tcgjeukens macrumors regular


    May 16, 2007
    Esbeek, the Netherlands
  3. HobeSoundDarryl macrumors 604


    Feb 8, 2004
    Hobe Sound, FL (20 miles north of Palm Beach)
    A portable package that can fold out or scale into a bigger-screen device would be an AMAZING device: a phone or iPod-like device when you want portability and a tablet when you need more screen real estate. I'd love to see this rumor come to life from Apple.
  4. Elian_Gonzalez macrumors member


    Mar 17, 2016
    In other words, it's the reboot of the flip-phone.

    And it will be interesting to watch techie boyz square that circle.
  5. Hustler1337 macrumors 68000


    Dec 23, 2010
    London, UK
    Foldable iPhone? This doesn't sound like the Apple I know. Of all the manufacturers, Apple would be the last company, if that, who I'd think of developing a foldable phone. Is there even a market for this?
  6. deanthedev Suspended


    Sep 29, 2017
    No. One of the best things about newer iPads was when they went to the laminated displays. People like solid feeling devices when you use them (and on a touch screen this means lots of tapping). I don't believe you can have a foldable device that also provides this solid feel (I think they will feel flimsy/cheap).
  7. err404 macrumors 68020

    Mar 4, 2007
    Not going to happen. At least not with a time to market of two years.
  8. rotlex macrumors 6502a

    May 1, 2003
  9. wrassmussen macrumors newbie


    Jan 8, 2013
    If the folding iPhone does happen, it is just Apple cashing in on #bendgate.
  10. WannaGoMac macrumors 68020


    Feb 11, 2007
    So the iPhone 6/6 plus bending was a prototype test!
  11. Heineken macrumors 6502a


    Jan 27, 2018
  12. robertcoogan macrumors 6502


    Apr 5, 2008
    Joshua Tree, California
    It's going to be a hard choice for me. Get the new clamshell iPhone, or make my mortgage payment for the month. Decisions, decisions...
  13. HobeSoundDarryl macrumors 604


    Feb 8, 2004
    Hobe Sound, FL (20 miles north of Palm Beach)
    Don't worry the payment plan term will just scale out so that we can still rationalize around "only about $8.XX more per month" or so.
  14. Yellowbean12 macrumors regular


    Feb 4, 2008
  15. Lepton macrumors 6502a


    Apr 13, 2002
    Cold Spring Harbor, NY
    I doubt these things will fold sharply as shown. The flexible "hinge" part will have a minimum bend radius, which I'll optomistically guess is, say, 1/8". So they need some clever way of hinging the clamshell phone without violating the minimum radius.
  16. yesjam macrumors regular

    Jun 6, 2014
    The flip phone in itself is a great concept. Minimize the device's footprint when closed; provide the user with an external display that shows notifications and other important data; and maintain a solid and ergonomic form-factor when open.

    This idea could translate magnificently to touch-screen devices. A smaller, always-on OLED screen in sapphire crystal on the front of the device when the clamshell is closed; a gigantic non-sapphire screen when the clamshell is open. Make both touch-compatible and allow users to do basic tasks when the phone is closed like they can currently do on the Apple Watch and you have a winner.

    A clamshell form factor also has the added benefits of protecting the large internal screen at all times, minimizing "phone fatigue" by having users be able to perform many if not most tasks without engaging the large display, and providing that satisfying "slap" sound when you hang up the phone :)

    This would represent IMO the greatest leap forward for smartphones since the introduction of the iPhone 11 years ago.
  17. JetLaw macrumors regular


    Jan 21, 2009
    What, exactly is the value proposition of this? Ignoring that it seems very unlikely to happen technologically (especially by 2020), I am at a loss as to why anyone would want it.
  18. iReality85, Mar 23, 2018
    Last edited: Mar 23, 2018

    iReality85 macrumors 6502a

    Apr 29, 2008
    Upstate NY
    OLED is such an amazing product, despite some of its drawbacks. LG is even making lamps out of OLED which can double as speakers, since the extreme thinness of OLED panels can be used as speaker diaphragms.

    I can totally see a fully foldable OLED phone with a full-screen speaker. Yes, full-screen. It will happen, because LG and Sony can already do this. Maybe not in 2 years, but within 5 this audio tech will likely show up in phones. Combined with moving the cameras and sensors underneath the screen, we'll finally, truly, have full screen phones. No notches, no bezels. Just pure screen.
  19. ccachor macrumors newbie

    Sep 11, 2014
    A foldable iPhone. Hmm. You mean Apple Glasses?
  20. MacLawyer macrumors demi-god


    Aug 1, 2009
    I love how these suppliers blab about possible upcoming products. You can bet that the Android manufacturers read this report and are having meetings this morning.
  21. yesjam macrumors regular

    Jun 6, 2014
    Speaking for myself, I would buy the hell out of a clamshell iPhone like the rendering in the OP
  22. elmaco macrumors 6502

    Jun 5, 2012
    If they make it bendable, I hope they don't do it as the picture suggest. What would be the purpose?

    It should be foldable in the other direction, so it can become wider and more like an iPad. Preferably with a screen on the back as well, so you can have the same behaviour as today without unfolding it.
  23. AngerDanger, Mar 23, 2018
    Last edited: Mar 23, 2018

    AngerDanger macrumors 601


    Dec 9, 2008
    I'd vote for it.


    Come on! Let's make this happen!
  24. FelixDerKater macrumors 68030


    Apr 12, 2002
    Nirgendwo in Amerika

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