Apple has started preliminary work on a foldable iPhone, which may compete with similar devices from Samsung Electronics Co. and others, but the company is only planning small updates for this year’s iPhone series.
The Cupertino, California-based company has created prototype foldable screens for internal testing, but no plans to release a foldable iPhone have been announced. According to a source familiar with the project who asked not to be named discussing private matters, the production work hasn’t progressed beyond a monitor, suggesting that Apple doesn’t yet have complete handset prototypes in its laboratories.
Apple’s Foldable iPhone
A foldable iPhone, like Samsung’s Galaxy Fold, Motorola’s Razr reboot, and other Chinese companies’ offerings, such as Huawei’s, will allow Apple to produce a smartphone with a larger screen in a more pocketable box. Apple has addressed a range of foldable screen sizes internally, including one that unfolds to the same size as the iPhone 12 Pro Max’s 6.7-inch display. Foldable phones currently have displays that are between 6 and 8 inches wide when unfolded.
According to the source, the foldable Apple screens in testing, including those from Samsung, have a virtually invisible hinge with the electronics concealed behind the panel. Other firms, such as Microsoft, have recently released devices with noticeable hinges that separate two distinct tables. A spokesperson for Apple declined to comment.
This would be a big step forward for Apple. Apple’s groundbreaking touchable, all-screen smartphone is probably the most popular consumer technology device in history, contributing to the company’s status as the most valuable in the world. A foldable iPhone, on the other hand, is possibly years away or may never be published. Apple is currently planning to announce its next-generation flagship iPhones and iPads later this year.
According to people familiar with the situation, considering the improvements made to the device in 2020, including 5G and new prototypes, Apple isn’t planning big changes for this year’s iPhone line. Within Apple, engineers consider the next iPhones to be another “S” version of the smartphone, a classification generally reserved for new iPhones with slight changes.
The Covid-19 pandemic has also complicated product growth, with Apple hardware engineers only working a few days a week and in small numbers at the company’s Silicon Valley headquarters. This has necessitated delegating work to Apple’s Chinese engineers.
The pandemic last year postponed the iPhone 12’s release by several weeks, but Apple was still able to include virtually all of the expected features, with the exception of an attachment named “AirTags” for finding physical objects such as backpacks and keys. The company now plans to release the accessory this year, along with a variety of accessories, such as a leather keychain. Earlier this month, Samsung released a similar device.
Apple Evaluating a Key Update for 2021
Apple is also evaluating a key update for 2021: an in-screen fingerprint reader, despite the fact that the overall improvements would be minimal. Users will be able to unlock their iPhones using a new form other than a passcode or Face ID facial recognition. With the release of the iPhone X in 2017, Apple began to shift away from fingerprint sensors, but Touch ID has remained a feature on Mac laptops and less expensive iPhones since then. Qualcomm Inc., which supplies Apple with 5G modems, announced a faster in-screen fingerprint sensor earlier this month.
In an area where users wear masks, which are often incompatible with facial recognition, the function will be useful. For certain users, an in-screen fingerprint reader, which has been available on Android phones for many years, could be faster than Face ID. Apple’s facial recognition scanner, on the other hand, will not be excluded because it is still useful for virtual reality and camera features.
In addition, Apple has addressed eliminating the charging port on certain iPhone models in favor of wireless charging. In addition to eliminating the charging brick from the iPhone box last year, Apple switched to a magnetic MagSafe charging mechanism with the iPhone 12. This charging technology is also returning to the MacBook Pro.
Apple is developing a new iPad Pro for its tablet line that will look identical to the current model but feature a MiniLED display and a much faster processor. A smaller and lighter entry-level iPad, identical to the 2019 iPad Air, is also in the works.