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Apple's foldable device may use color e-ink displays — huge power savings

iPad mini 6
(Image credit: Phillip Tracy/Laptop Mag)

Apple is exploring the use of e-ink display technology for its upcoming foldable devices, equipping a potential foldable iPhone and iPad with an Electronic Paper Display (EPD) as their cover or second screen.

According to analyst Ming-Chi Kuo, Apple is already testing color e-ink display technology to be used as a "future foldable device's cover screen and tablet-like applications." This strays from the design used in Android foldables, such as Samsung's Galaxy Z Flip's OLED cover display. However, using an e-ink display will consume less power, meaning Apple's foldable devices could have a long battery life. 

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It's unclear if e-ink's EPD will be used as a smaller cover display on a foldable iPhone or as a full second screen. Kuo previously predicted the Cupertino tech giant's first foldable product will launch in 2025 "at the earliest", stating we may not be seeing a foldable iPhone, but rather a foldable iPad or combination of the two popular devices. This could be similar in size to the 8.3-inch iPad mini, but with the folding ability of the Samsung Galaxy Fold 3. 

Apparently, Apple is "actively testing" a foldable nine-inch OLED device with pixel per inch (PPI) between an iPhone and iPad. This means we could see a combination of an OLED display and a second color e-ink display.

Apple's first foldable product has been up in the air, as previous reports indicated we would see an iPhone Fold of sorts in 2023. This has now been pushed back, and Kuo believes it may not be as simple as just a foldable iPhone. Back in February, oft-reliable Display Supply Chain Consultants (DSCC) CEO Ross Young claimed we could see a 20-inch all-screen foldable MacBook — being able to function like a MacBook with an on-screen keyboard when folded, and like an iMac monitor when unfolded.

Young also states we may not see Apple's foldable device until 2025, so we have a while to go until we see anything official. Speaking of foldables, what happened to the Google Pixel Fold? And is HP gearing up to showcase a 17-inch foldable OLED laptop? Stay tuned for more. 

Darragh Murphy is fascinated by all things bizarre, which usually leads to assorted coverage varying from washing machines designed for AirPods to the mischievous world of cyberattacks. Whether it's connecting Scar from The Lion King to two-factor authentication or turning his love for gadgets into a fabricated rap battle from 8 Mile, he believes there’s always a quirky spin to be made. With a Master’s degree in Magazine Journalism from The University of Sheffield, along with short stints at Kerrang! and Exposed Magazine, Darragh started his career writing about the tech industry at Time Out Dubai and ShortList Dubai, covering everything from the latest iPhone models and Huawei laptops to massive Esports events in the Middle East. Now, he can be found proudly diving into gaming, gadgets, and letting readers know the joys of docking stations for Laptop Mag.