First look: Is this Apple’s X Fold smartphone?
The tech world has foldable fever. Samsung launched its Galaxy Fold just last week. Huawei pulled the wraps off its bendy Mate X yesterday. And a slew of Chinese firms have already announced their own foldable smartphones.
But one name is suspiciously missing from the foldable smartphone bandwagon: Apple.
The Cupertino-based company has never been one to comment on rumor or speculation, nor release knee-jerk reactionary products. But it did quietly signal to the tech market that it wasn’t ignoring foldable fever; earlier this week Apple quietly released patents around a foldable iPhone.
The illustrative patents reveal how screen orientation and hinge design will work, as well as measure to ensure the slim smartphone will stay structurally sound when folding.
To flesh out what the bendy iPhone might look like, Dutch industrial designer Roy Gilsingon behalf of Foldable News, has created some renders that show the X Fold in action. The new form factor would really bridge the gap between smartphone and tablet – lettings users hot-swap between both form factors on the fly.
It shows a slimmer device than a traditional iPhone when folded in half, and then a slightly squarer version of an iPad in tablet mold. Apple’s iOS always played nice regardless of whether it is running on a smartphone or a tablet (and despite Apple products now utilizing a variety of screen sizes) so we don’t think there’ll be too much issue for apps – in tablet mode at least.
There has been a slew of excitement around the foldable space as late, with Samsung releasing its Galaxy Fold to mixed reviews. While the Korean company was commended for getting its phone to market first, it’s a little awkward looking.
Huawei followed suit just yesterday, with a new slim foldable smartphone/tablet hybrid that has journalists salivating. But it’s yet to be fully tested (and will cost a whopping US$2,600 when it arrives in a few months’ time).
All this means that in an exciting new space for smartphones – and despite some early wins for both Samsung and Huawei – no company has yet to take the lead.
That gives Apple plenty of time to sit back and work on getting its bendy iPhone out the door. Hopefully, in time for iPhone launch season in September.