LG could be helping Apple make a foldable iPhone a reality

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Apple's folding patent
Apple has been investigating folding phones for a while.
Photo: USPTO/Apple

LG Display is reportedly working on a foldable panel for a future iPhone, Digitimes reports.

The report, which cites industry sources, says that the company is working on a prototype with Apple. However, it is not clear whether LG would be mass-manufacturing the screens for Apple were such a product to come to market.

Folding smartphones have, in recent years, been widely explored across the industry. Samsung rushed ahead with introducing the Galaxy Fold in 2019. However, the device was plagued with problems, and Samsung wound up canceling the device’s original April 26 launch date. The Galaxy Fold ultimately launched in September 2019.

Despite that inauspicious, half-baked start, foldables have come a long way in a short period of time. The Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 2 is a massive improvement over its predecessor, offering an impressive 7.6-inch, almost square display when unfolded, and most of the issues of the first-gen model ironed out.

Then there’s the Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 5G, the dual-screen LG Wing, and the considerably more budget LG G8X ThinQ Dual Screen. Each offers a slightly different twist on the foldable format — but with definite compelling aspects to each one.

Apple is excited about foldables

Apple, like the rest, is also keen on foldables. As with the phablet, which was around for a few years before Apple embraced it with the best-selling iPhone 6, it’s not yet made one. However, it has patented concepts related to folding batteries and a no-crease folding display. One December report suggested Apple is testing out two folding phone designs. A more recent one said that Apple is particularly interested in the flip phone format. However, this will supposedly not arrive until 2023 or later.

Apple, as ever, has the luxury of being able to play the long game with folding phones. The first phablet phones — combing phone and tablet — started showing up in the late 2000s. The iPhone 6 didn’t debut until 2014. Similarly, Apple dragged its feet about releasing a smartwatch.

In both cases, there was no shortage of pundits claiming Apple had missed the boat. What happened? The Apple Watch became a massive smash hit for Apple, and the iPhone 6 remains Apple’s best-selling iPhone series of all time. There’s no rush to get a foldable to market. But rumors such as this do suggest Apple’s working on it.

Source: Digitimes