Apple seems to be dipping its toes in the foldable smartphone market by intensifying testing of potential foldable iPhones, says a new report by UDN which cites Apple’s supply chain as sources. (via PatentlyApple)
The report claims that Apple is not only accumulating several patents relating to a potential foldable iPhone but also sending samples back and forth for testing. Apple has chosen major Apple products assembler Hon Hai Precision Industry (also known as Foxconn) and bearing manufacturer New Nikko for the manufacturing of the first foldable iPhone.
According to sources within the report, Apple is planning to launch its first foldable iPhone in 2022.
Apple will be relying on Foxconn to assemble its foldable iPhones while mass production of an essential component for foldables—bearings—will be overlooked by New Nikko.
Since the hinge on a foldable phone is usually fragile, bearings are essential. Not only that, the bearings need to be made in a way that they could withstand folding more than 100,000 times. Apple is expected to rely on the research and development capabilities of Taiwan-based manufacturers such as Nippon Nippon for that purpose.
Since the hinge is one of the most important aspects of a foldable phone, Apple is spending more time perfecting that.
The report also mentions that Apple is also evaluating whether to include OLED or Micro-LED displays in the foldable iPhone as both display technologies affect assembly methods, and therefore the quality and performance of the device. You can read about our in-depth OLED vs Mini-LED guide to gain an understanding of different display technologies and what Apple is leaning towards most.