Apple Considers Foldable iPhone; Minor changes planned for 2021 model


Photographer: Michael Short / Bloomberg

Apple Inc has quickly begun work on the iPhone with a foldable screen, a potential rival for similar devices from Samsung Electronics Company and others, though it plans only minor changes to this year’s iPhone line.

The Cupertino, California-based company has developed a prototype foldable screen for internal testing, but has not really solidified plans to launch a foldable iPhone. Development work has not progressed beyond a demonstration, meaning that Apple does not yet have the full handset prototype in its labs, according to a person familiar with the work, who was asked not to discuss private matters.

Like Samsung’s Galaxy Fold, The Other offerings from Chinese companies, including Motorola Razor Reboot and Huawei Technology Company, will allow a foldable iPhone Apple to create a device with larger screens in a more pocketable package. Apple has internally discussed several foldable screen sizes, including a similar one that comes with the same size as the 6.7-inch display on the iPhone 12 Pro Max. Current foldable phones have screens that are 6 and 8 inches long.

Like those at Samsung, the foldable Apple screen in the test has mostly invisible hinges with electronics installed behind the display, the person said. Other companies, including Microsoft Corporation, have recently launched two separate panels with visible devices separating them. An Apple spokesperson declined to comment.

This would be a revolutionary departure for Apple. Its pioneering touchable, all-screen smartphone is arguably the most successful consumer technology product in history, helping to make Apple the world’s most valuable company. However, a foldable iPhone is probably years away or may never be introduced eventually. The company is currently focusing on launching its next generation flagship iPhones and iPads later this year.

iPhone Benefits

Apple is not planning major changes for this year’s iPhone line, which according to people familiar with the situation are enhancements made to smartphones including 5G and new designs in 2020. Inside Apple, engineers next consider iPhones to be another “S” version of the device, naming is usually given to new iPhones with minor upgrades.

The Kovid-19 epidemic has also led to complex product development, with Apple hardware engineers working only a few days a week and in limited numbers in the company’s Silicon Valley offices. This means that Apple’s engineers in China have stopped working.

Last year, the epidemic delayed the release of the iPhone 12 by several weeks, but Apple was still able to include almost every intended feature except “AirTags”, an accessory dub for locating physical objects such as backpacks and keys. The company now plans to launch that accessory this year, and is planning several accessories for it, including a leather key. Samsung announced a similar activator earlier this month.

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