It is being said that Apple plans to make a phone that can be opened and closed like a book. The device has not been named yet but a patent has been filed for the technology and Apple is working with LG to achieve its goal. A patent application was spotted by Patently Apple, which said, “An electronic device may have a flexible portion that allows the device to be folded. The device may have a flexible display. The flexible display may have a bending region that allows the display to bend along a bend axis when the device is folded.”
According to the patent, the device will have a MicroOLED screen an upgrade to the OLED display in the iPhone X. The Investor is a Korean site and it claimed last year that Apple is already working hand in hand with the Korean manufacturer to develop an iPhone with a foldable display. This device could very well transform the iPhone to the iPad.
LG and Samsung are both working on folding screens of their own and for obvious reasons, Apple chose to work with LG rather than their biggest competitors. A special hinge allows the screen to be folded in half that can transform an iPhone to an iPad.
“LG Display recently created a task force to develop a foldable OLED screen for the new iPhone model, while its parts-making sister firm LG Innotek has also set up a team dedicated to developing the rigid-flexible printed circuit board, more widely called RFPCB,” the Investor says. “Panel production could start from 2020”
Samsung is also expected to release a device that folds like a book in January. LG, on the other hand, has already revealed several foldable prototypes, one of them folds like a book and the other can be rolled up like a newspaper. It also showed off an 18-inch Ultra HD screen in 2014 that uses a special film instead of plastic as backing. It made its debut in May this year and could be rolled into a tight tube for transport. The ultra-thin wallpaper TV is only 1 mm thick and weighs 4 pounds and can be mounted on the wall just using magnets.
Apple is still starting out with the foldable technology and it might take a couple of years for them to catch up. The display is expected to kick off somewhere in 2020. Samsung, however, is not that far behind and we might see these foldable screens soon enough. In a call with investors in January, director of Samsung’s Display division Lee Chang-hoon said “Development of Foldable OLED is taking place according to our plan…We are planning on mass-production and release this product by discussing with our partners.”
We will have to wait and see for these screens to be launched officially before we can speculate anymore on their capabilities. You can see the ad campaign from Samsung here.