Is an Apple Foldable Phone in the Works?


The world of high-tech phones never stops evolving. Manufacturers know keeping pace with competitors requires regularly releasing the newest features and designs.

Samsung will soon roll out its long-awaited and highly anticipated foldable phone. So, people are understandably wondering if Apple’s foldable phone might be just around the corner. Here’s what we know so far.

Apple Applied for Several Folding Phone Patents

One thing that makes many people suspect Apple will release a folding phone relatively soon is that the company submitted paperwork for several patents related to foldable phones. The most recent of them mention having a heating element on the folding section to keep the phone’s screen from becoming brittle in cold weather.

The brand also aimed to get a folding phone patent that’s similarly specific but relates to the battery. That document discusses a flexible battery encased in graphite padding to help with heat dissipation.

Patents alone don’t guarantee a company will produce a foldable phone soon. But, the content of those patent applications suggests Apple’s engineers are spending time thinking about how to make any future phones practical. Plus, you can expect Apple’s characteristically ultra-stylish results.

Keep in mind, however, that Apple got its first foldable device patent approved in 2014. So, its interest in those patents is not new, but it’s probably a good sign that the brand consistently applies for folding patents.

Foldable Phone Rumors Associated With Apple Are Not New

The buzz about a potential Apple phone that folds began long before 2019. They moved into high gear in 2016 when people heard LG might start mass-producing foldable screens for clients.

Then, a year later, the rumor mill kept churning when sources said LG would launch a partnership with Apple to help the brand create a foldable iPhone screen.

Even more recently, Samsung offered to source foldable screens for Apple, and Corning, a current Apple supplier, is working on the technology, too. These tidbits help people stay hopeful about expecting Apple’s first foldable phones soon.

Current Folding Phones Encountering Trouble

Competition is perhaps the most influential factor encouraging Apple to release a foldable phone. Besides Samsung’s model, the Fold, Huawei says its Mate X phone will have a foldable design. Google is also reportedly working on a folding phone, and people have high hopes for the success of the Motorola RAZR reboot that will have a folding design.

Apple prides itself on being among the first tech companies to offer cutting-edge, in-demand tech advancements. If it waits too long, the brand may find itself behind the curve and struggling to catch up.

But, Apple could have a valid reason for its foldable phone delays. Samsung recently missed its planned release date, and Best Buy stopped taking pre-orders for the gadgets after Samsung stayed silent about an officially updated timeframe. Also, tech reporters who got Samsung Fold models to review reported that the phones broke after only a few days or less of typical use.

Huawei has a different matter to deal with that doesn’t relate to the folding phone’s functionality, but could nonetheless limit its market reach. The Trump administration recently blacklisted Huawei and will soon stop U.S. companies from supplying hardware or software for the brand. Notably, the ban means Huawei phones can’t run Google’s Android operating system.

Analysts say the Huawei ban could help Samsung regain momentum in the smartphone market. Huawei is working on a dedicated operating system tapped for release next year. But, even that approach may not solve the problem.

For example, if people want to access Gmail or other Google products on their Mate X foldable phones but can’t because of the ban, the gadget will have difficulty earning U.S. market share.

Apple Prefers Glass to Plastic

Due to the above challenges, some tech reporters wonder if there’s a foldable phone curse. Delaying a possible foldable phone release could be to Apple’s advantage if it allows the company to watch other businesses work out the kinks. And, playing the waiting game could give Apple ample time to revisit its preference for glass displays over plastic ones.

Corning is working on a kind of bendable glass, and its success would mean Apple does not have to choose between glass and something foldable. But, there’s no word about Corning’s progress, and that suggests it’s too early for Apple fans to get too excited about a folding phone.

No Reliable News Yet

Sources occasionally bring up that Apple could release a folding phone sometime next year. However, that’s still pure speculation at this point. It also seems thoroughly unlikely to get something that soon, given that Apple hasn’t announced something to quiet the rumors.

The only thing to be sure about for now is that a growing number of companies are either releasing foldable phones or solidifying plans to do so. Giving an official statement on the matter could help Apple stay in a relevant, top-of-mind position within its consumer base.

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