Apple hints at foldable iPhone
Apple (AAPL) appears to be seriously considering building an iPhone that opens and closes like a book. A new patent filing by Apple offers a glimpse into its product roadmap. The company filed a patent for an “electronic device” with a flexible, touch-sensitive display that can bend so the device can be opened and closed like a book.
Apple had earlier been granted a patent for a foldable electronic device. The latest patent application went on to mention not just a foldable phone, but also foldable laptop, tablet, and smartwatch. Therefore, Apple’s filing of another patent for a foldable electronic device hints at the company’s growing interest in producing a radically redesigned iPhone, iPad, or Apple Watch.
Looking at the trends in the smartphone market, for instance, it wouldn’t be surprising that Apple may be considering a radical design for its consumer products. Although the global smartphone market continues to grow, the growth has been sluggish in recent years as smartphone penetration peaks in many key markets.
Product innovation may help leading smartphone vendors such as Apple and Samsung (SSNLF) to drive more demand for their products. This could be where Apple’s idea of a foldable iPhone fits.
Samsung might launch a foldable Galaxy smartphone this year
Samsung is also interested in producing foldable smartphones, and a foldable Galaxy smartphone might launch later this year according to a CNN report citing the Korean company’s mobile unit chief, Koh Dong-Jin.
According to the latest available smartphone shipment metrics from IDC, Samsung, Apple, and China’s (MCHI) Huawei were the top three smartphone vendors in 3Q17. They beat Sony (SNE), Alphabet’s (GOOGL) Google, and Microsoft (MSFT) in the quarter in terms of device shipment volume.