Fold iPhone conceptSource: Rene Ritchie/iMore

What you need to know

  • A new report says Apple will likely release a foldable iPhone as early as 2022.
  • Digitimes says that Apple's move into the sector will drive demand for flexible OLED displays.

A new report says that Apple will likely step into the foldable phone sector as early as 2022.

As reported by Digitimes:

As Samsung Electronics has already launched three foldable smartphones built using flexible OLED panels, Digitimes Research believes that Apple will likely step into the foldable smartphone sector in 2022, furthering demand for flexible OLED displays.

The report comes in the context of suppliers like Samsung and LG Display ramping up OLED production for small-to-medium sized applications. According to the report:

Demand for OLED panels from the smartphone sector has rebounded as the pandemic-induced impacts on the handset supply chain have eased, while the launch of Apple's all OLED iPhone 12 lineup has encouraged other handset brands to also adopt OLED panels for their mid-range to high-end models, Digitimes Research said.

Digitimes says OLED-based smartphones will account for 40% of shipments next year, and that demand for OLED panels for Apple Watch "is likely to double" in the coming year.

Serial Apple leaker Jon Prosser has previously stated that Apple has a foldable iPhone prototype with "two separate display panels" on a hinge and round, stainless steel edges like the iPhone 11. It also has no notch and an outer display with Face ID. Prosser, responding to speculation noted that the device "doesn't look like they just stuck two phones together", and that when the displays are extended they look fairly continuous and seamless.

Apple has had several patents granted pertaining to foldable display technology, this latest Digitimes report confirms Apple is certainly thinking about a foldable iPhone.