A timeline created by a Korean research firm called CGS-CIMB Group last year indicated that Apple will be the last of the major phone manufacturers to introduce a foldable handset
. This would take place during the second half of 2020
, possibly during its traditional September announcement. We've already seen a number of patents filed by Apple, but we still have no idea whether the company will embrace an innie or an outie. In other words, will the foldable iPhone fold inwards like the Samsung Galaxy Fold
, or will it fold outwards like the Huawei Mate X
A graphic designer named Antonio De Rosa designed a foldable iPhone concept
), revealing what his expectations are for such a device. Unlike the Galaxy Fold
, which has a thick bezeled 4.6-inch external display, the iPhone X
Fold (as the concept is named) has a full-size 6.6-inch AMOLED cover display (with a notch, of course) carrying a 1440 x 2960 resolution, and a 93.6% screen-to-body-ratio. When open, it becomes an 8.3-inch tablet carrying an AMOLED panel with a resolution of 2880 x 2960, almost a perfect square. The tablet would sport a 96.8% screen-to-body-ratio with two front-facing punch hole cameras in the upper right side of the display (10MP and an 8MP depth sensor).
On back is the triple-camera setup that has been rumored for the iPhone XI and iPhone XI Max. Borrowing from renders produced of the 2019 models, the rear cameras are housed in a squircle shaped box in the upper left side of the phone's rear panel (when closed). The three cameras on back include a 12MP wide angle sensor with a variable aperture of f/1.5-2.4, a 12MP telephoto sensor and a 16MP sensor offering 3x optical zoom. There is also a 10MP camera on the cover screen feature an aperture of f/2.2.
Samsung is rumored to supply Apple with flexible OLED panels for its foldable phone
Because this is a concept and it doesn't require engineers to figure out how to layout the internals inside the device to make it work, De Rosa has the luxury to make his iPhone X Fold a thinner and sleeker looking device than the Galaxy Fold. He also is able to create his own version of iOS for the concept. One particular compelling image shows the phone in a laptop like mode with the bottom half of the 8.3-inch screen used for the virtual Qwerty keyboard and the top half used as the display.
A number of Android manufacturers are expected to release foldable phones this year including the aforementioned Samsung and Huawei. Other manufacturers include Oppo, TCL and Lenovo's Motorola subsidiary. So far, it seems that the form factor will be priced out of reach for many consumers; the Galaxy Fold carries a $1,980 price tag while the Mate X
costs the equivalent of $2,600 USD. The Motorola RAZR could be priced at $1,500, although the rumored specs of the device aren't as high-end as Samsung and Huawei's models. Until prices start coming down, the foldable form factor will remain a curiosity.
Apple is also expected to unveil its first 5G phone next year, so it is possible that the first foldable iPhone will support the next generation of wireless connectivity. Samsung is expected to supply Apple with the flexible OLED panels for the device and has already sent samples to Apple for the company to examine.
Concept of foldable Apple iPhone