Foldable smartphones have started to hit the market in earnest with Samsung already kicking off its second generation with the reveal of the Galaxy Z Fold 2 and Microsoft entering the market with its own take on foldables with the Surface Duo. But one major player in the smartphone market has been left out so far.
Apple isn't known for being early to release new technology so if this rumor from frequent Apple leaker @komiya_kj is true, it would certainly be the case again. Then again, it sounds like it could be an impressive first effort when Apple does finally get around to releasing a foldable phone (via Notebookcheck).
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According to Komiya, the foldable is set to arrive in 2023, which is quite a way off. That seems reasonable, though, considering Samsung's own lengthy development cycle with its foldables.
Foldable iPad(iPhone)-“one more thing” in 2023-support phone call-iPad OS?-A16X (may be A17) (3nm)-Made up with two panels and seamlessly connected to each other-Micro LED Display -under screen Front camera and Touch ID-Best experience with Apple Glass or VR headsetAugust 11, 2020
Komiya had a number of additional specs to share, suggesting that the foldable would run on a 3nm A16X or possibly A17 chipset and would be constructed of "two panels that are seamlessly connected to each other," adding that these would be microLED displays with an under-screen front-facing camera and Touch ID sensor.
Some of these details conflict with previous rumors from another frequently reliable Apple leaker Jon Prosser. He indicated that Apple's prototype more closely follows the Microsoft Surface Duo design model of two panels with a minimal hinge separating them rather than a true folding display.
Apple’s “foldable” iPhone isn’t really a foldable. 🧐 The current prototype has two separate display panels on a hinge. Round, stainless steel edges like current iPhone 11 design.No notch — tiny forehead on outter display that houses Face ID.June 15, 2020
Of course, it stands to reason that Apple has multiple prototypes and designs that it is still looking into with up to three years to go before a potential launch for the device, so it's entirely possible that both leakers (or neither) are correct.
The general description of the device sounds very much like the Galaxy Fold, or more accurately, the Galaxy Z Fold 2. It will have support for phone calls, but perhaps with performance akin to an iPad. Given the strong support for Apple Pencil with the iPad, it would be interesting to see if Apple can crack the problem of using a stylus with a foldable screen, something that Samsung has so far been unable to solve.
Projections or leaks regarding devices that are this far away from launching are definitely to be taken with a considerable heaping of salt. Even if the information the leaker received is 100% accurate, there are simply too many moving parts to guarantee the release date of such a product.
I suspect many would have scoffed at the idea of Apple releasing a foldable in 2023 considering the state of the Galaxy Fold last year. But looking at the design revisions that were made in just a year for the Galaxy Z Fold 2, it seems much more believable that Apple would be willing to jump on board folding tech within the next three years.
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Sean Riley has been covering tech professionally for over a decade now. Most of that time was as a freelancer covering varied topics including phones, wearables, tablets, smart home devices, laptops, AR, VR, mobile payments, fintech, and more. Sean is the resident mobile expert at Laptop Mag, specializing in phones and wearables, you'll find plenty of news, reviews, how-to, and opinion pieces on these subjects from him here. But Laptop Mag has also proven a perfect fit for that broad range of interests with reviews and news on the latest laptops, VR games, and computer accessories along with coverage on everything from NFTs to cybersecurity and more.