Apple is actively working on developing its first foldable iPhone, according to a report. The report suggests that the Cupertino company looks to launch its first foldable handset in September 2022. It is said to be actively in discussions with material suppliers from Taiwan – Hon Hai and Nippon Nippon – for the foldable iPhone. The report suggests that Apple's first foldable phone may use OLED or MicroLED screen technology, and the display panel will be sourced from Samsung. The company is currently in the process of testing the screen and bearings of the first foldable iPhone.
Taiwanese media firm Money.udn.com cited supply chain sources to report that Apple is indeed working on bringing its first foldable iPhone in 2022. The company is currently testing the bearing and screen for the foldable iPhone. Samsung will supply the display and the bearings will be manufactured by several suppliers. The report suggests that New Nikko will be the main supplier and Hon Hai will assemble the foldable handset. Hon Hai is reported to be one of Apple's largest foundry for iPhones.
Nippon Nippon will also procure bearings for the foldable iPhone, and Apple will heavily rely on the research and development done by the Taiwanese company for the foldable hinge. The phone requires rigorous folding tests, and past foldable phones have been tested for about 1,00,000 times for durability. New Nikko, as mentioned, will mass produce these bearings.
This isn't the first time that we're hearing about Apple's foldable phone. In February, Apple patented a new hinge design for a foldable phone. The patent suggests that Apple looks to build a unique hinge design that enables sufficient space between the two displays for the flexible screen to retract into, when folded. This space created in between the hinge allows the display to stay in a curved state to prevent any crease or tension. The hinge uses movable flaps to achieve this.
The foldable phone segment is still very nascent, with Samsung being the first to unveil a commercial foldable phone last year, the Galaxy Fold. This foldable handset saw several hiccups and delays in launches, but the succeeding Galaxy Z Fold 2 launch was much smoother.
Apple, given its reputation, may want to iron out all glitches before launching a foldable iPhone. Therefore, a September 2022 release may not be too far-fetched.
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