Apple is testing electronic paper display tech from Chinese company E Ink for use as the cover screen on future foldable devices, according to TF International Securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo.
Color EPD panels could be ideal for foldables with a secondary screen, as they are more energy efficient than traditional OLED panels.
Electronic paper displays are more energy-efficient than OLED panels
The analyst thinks Apple is testing E Ink’s electronic paper displays for various “tablet-like” devices.
Current foldable phones on the market use an OLED panel for their cover screen. However, this is not an ideal solution because they consume a lot of power. The small size of such secondary displays also means they cannot be used for anything more than basic tasks like checking notifications and reading incoming messages.
Apple is testing E Ink's Electronic Paper Display (EPD) for future foldable device's cover screen & tablet-like applications. The color EPD has the potential to become a mainstream solution for foldable devices' must-have cover/second screen thanks to its excellent power-saving.
— 郭明錤 (Ming-Chi Kuo) (@mingchikuo) May 17, 2022
Thus, using a low-power E Ink display could be a perfect solution here. These screens consume little to no power for displaying static content. For anything more, users would have access to the device’s bigger, higher-resolution foldable display.
So far, e-ink displays have found limited adoption in smartphones. They are primarily used in e-readers and smartwatches, as they help extend the devices’ battery life by days.
Apple explores various tech for use in foldable devices
Kuo’s latest claims come hot on the heels of last week’s report that Apple is developing thinner OLED panels without the polarizer for use in foldable displays. The analyst previously stated that Apple is “actively testing” a 9-inch foldable. However, the device is not expected to make its way to the market until at least 2025.
At this point, no one knows for sure when (or even if) Apple will debut its first foldable. However, the company does seem to be exploring various technologies and options to ensure its device does not suffer from the same limitations as currently available foldables..