Apple is reportedly gearing up to launch its first foldable iPhone by September 2022 and is said to be in talks with suppliers in Taiwan like Hon Hai and Nippon Nippon. Hon Hai is one of the main suppliers and it is expected to be “most important assembly plant for Apple’s first folding mobile phone”. Apple may use OLED or MicroLED panels for the first foldable iPhone. Interestingly, Apple will be relying on Samsung for the foldable display panel.
A report by Taiwanese news website Money.udn.com said, “According to the supply chain, Apple is currently testing key components such as the screen and bearings of the folding machine in order to make the first folding iPhone come out as soon as possible. Samsung will still provide the panel for the screen.”
Apart from the foldable display, Apple will be introducing a special type of bearing or hinge mechanism for the foldable iPhone. It’s supplier Nippon Nippon is working on creating the same. “It is generally expected that the first foldable iPhone will use bearings and rely on the research and development energy of Taiwanese manufacturers such as Nippon Nippon, which has had a high degree of cooperation with Apple in the notebook business in the past,” the report added.
Earlier in March 2020, The US Patent and Trademark Office awarded a new patent to Apple titled ‘Foldable cover and display for an electronic device’. This clearly suggests that the company is planning to come up with a foldable iPhone.
The patent suggests that the upcoming device will sport a layer of flexible display paired with a cover layer. The patent also suggests that Apple is thinking of using sensors to disable or turn off or put the screen on standby mode when the device is folded.