Every phone maker is jumping on the foldable trend, and rumors have it that Apple is working on one too, but with an interesting twist.
Apple is testing a foldable device, according to analyst Ming-Chi Kuo. However, unlike other companies that have released their own foldables, Apple is reportedly adding an external screen made from a color display with E Ink. Kuo tweeted, “The color EPD [Electronic Paper Display] has the potential to become a mainstream solution for foldable devices’ must-have cover/second screen thanks to its excellent power-saving.”
The analyst added that Apple is also testing the E Ink display in tablet usage scenarios. If correct, this will be different from the most common implementation of folding screens. For example, Samsung’s Galaxy Z Fold 3 has a tablet inner screen and a phone-sized display on the outside, and both screens are made from OLED panels. While Apple’s method may result in a less bright and responsive outer screen, it will be more energy-efficient.
One company that has been using E Ink extensively is Amazon, which uses the screen in its Kindle reading tablets. However, the company has improved the screen to produce more colors and higher resolution. Amazon’s new E Ink screen can also refresh faster, but it is still not in the league of OLED or LCD panels. As an added advantage, the new screens have been shown in videos to bend or roll.
Ever since other companies started making foldables, there have been rumors that Apple is working on one. Last year, we heard that Apple already had prototype folding displays. In April, Kuo suggested Apple might release a 9-inch folding device in 2025. Bloomberg is even saying Apple might be prepping a massive folding 20 inches display, to be released in 2026. Kuo notably has not mentioned any dimension of the Apple prototype with an E Ink display.
While Apple may be joining the foldable party late, it is not unusual. For example, Apple took its time before releasing a larger iPhone. Similarly, it wasn’t the first to offer a notch on the screen. However, the Cupertino-based company has some advantages that will let it compete. One of them is an ecosystem of apps that are usually optimized for the form factor across its operating systems. Apple also has a loyal fan base that will be glad there is foldable in the ecosystem.