Rumors are circulating about the features of the upcoming iPhone 11, with industry sources reporting that Apple may buy OLED flexible displays from Samsung.
However, the flexible display is somewhat old news to Apple insiders, given Apple filed its first patent application in 2011 for “flexible display devices.” Since then, Apple has filed patent applications on flexible displays in 2014, 2016, and 2018.
There is a lot of excitement surrounding the possibilities of the latest Apple product. According to Wamsi Mohan, a Bank of America Merrill Lynch analyst, per CNBC, “Apple is working with suppliers on a foldable phone (that potentially could double up as a tablet) for launch in 2020.”
Mohan shared this information after meeting with several Apple suppliers in Asia, so his report seems somewhat credible. However, there are always numerous rumors circulating the industry before the release of a new Apple product. So much so, that it can be hard to distinguish fact from fiction.
Here is what we know so far.
A Potentially Cheaper iPhone
One word you will never hear used to describe an Apple product is “cheap.” Steve Jobs was once quoted as saying “We don’t know how to build a sub-$500 computer that isn’t junk.”
People have proven time and time again that they are willing to shell out the big bucks for high-quality technology boasting the famous Apple logo. Just last year, in 2018, Apple released the iPhone XS Max, its most expensive iPhone to date. With products like these, it leaves many consumers yearning for a more affordable smartphone that allows them to stay loyal to the Apple brand.
The appeal of these flexible, touch-integrated OLED displays is their ability to make the iPhone lighter and thinner. The iPhone 11 could potentially cost less than previous Apple iPhone releases, seeing as how the possible elimination of the touch screen panel would reduce overall production costs.
Could A Flexible Screen Mean A Foldable iPhone?
While the flexible display was used in the foldable Samsung Galaxy X, industry sources point to the fact that flexible and foldable are two entirely different things.
It seems more likely that Apple will integrate the flexible screen into a differently-designed screen. While flexibility is undoubtedly an impressive trait for a phone screen, it appears that Apple may be more interested in the included touch sensitivity. The Samsung flexible screen has touch sensors built into it, eliminating the need for another layer.
However, the development of new technology is required to create a foldable phone that indeed folds and works appropriately. It seems Apple is already heading in the right direction with the release of the iPhone X which includes an OLED screen. OLED screens are made up of independent pixels that allow them to be more flexible than LCD screens.
Speaking of flexible, if you have ever experienced the heartbreak of a cracked or shattered iPhone screen, you will be pleased to learn that the flexible OLED screen will ensure your phone screen has far less shattering potential.
But with competition like the Samsung Galaxy X and the Huawei Mate X, all signs are pointing to a folding iPhone in the very near future.
When Will We See A Foldable iPhone?
So when will see a foldable iPhone? That seems to be the big question these days. With all the hype surrounding the release of the foldable Huawei Mate X and the Galaxy Fold X, it’s likely only a matter of time until Apple chimes in with a revolutionary foldable product of their own.
Or, perhaps Apple has no plans to create a folding iPhone, but instead are merely using the patent to continue their research.
We could see an iPhone with a new flexible or even foldable screen as soon as 2020, or Apple just may surprise us all and release the latest iPhone that in no way integrates this revolutionary technology into its latest gadgets.
Until then, we will have to gawk at the specs of the Galaxy Fold and Huawei Mate X while we wait for the next Apple product release.