Foldable iPhone could be one step closer thanks to Galaxy Z Fold 3 tech

Fold iPhone concept
Fold iPhone concept (Image credit: Rene Ritchie / iMore)

What you need to know

  • Apple is reportedly developing a new type of OLED panel.
  • It doesn't have a polarizer so would be better for foldable devices.
  • The same tech is used in the Galaxy Z Fold 3, and could one day debut in a folding iPhone.

A new report say that Apple is developing its own version of an OLED panel used in the Galaxy Z Fold 3 that is more optimal for folding devices, possibly paving the way for a folding iPhone, iPad, or even a Mac.

As reported by The Elec:

Apple has begun the development of an OLED panel that doesn't use a polarizer, TheElec has learned.The removable of the polarizer on the panel will allow them to be made thinner, which makes them more optimal for foldable panels, sources said.

As the report notes the polarizer improves the visibility of a display but lessens brightness. Usually, phone makers increase the brightness to offset this but this has a negative impact on the lifespan of the display. Samsung Electronics uses the same technology in an OLED panel supplied by Samsung Display for the Galaxy Z Fold 3. If Apple is working on its own version of the tech it could make a folding iPhone of the future a much more realistic prospect.

Reports indicate Apple is at least considering adding a foldable device to its lineup of best iPhone, but the development seems to be some years away, so don't expect a folding iPhone 14 this year or even next year.

Ming-Chi Kuo said in April that Apple was testing a 9-inch foldable device that wouldn't be ready until 2025 at the earliest, which could be an iPad, or a hybrid tablet and phone. Jon Prosser has also previously reported that Apple has settled on a clamshell folding device akin to the Samsung Galaxy Z Flip line.

Apple is even reportedly working on a MacBook with a foldable display in lieu of a keyboard.

The company is expected to unveil a new iPhone later this year that will eschew the 'mini' iPhone form factor in favor of another larger 'Max' model without Pro features such as a new processor or 120Hz display.

Stephen Warwick
News Editor

Stephen Warwick has written about Apple for five years at iMore and previously elsewhere. He covers all of iMore's latest breaking news regarding all of Apple's products and services, both hardware and software. Stephen has interviewed industry experts in a range of fields including finance, litigation, security, and more. He also specializes in curating and reviewing audio hardware and has experience beyond journalism in sound engineering, production, and design.

Before becoming a writer Stephen studied Ancient History at University and also worked at Apple for more than two years. Stephen is also a host on the iMore show, a weekly podcast recorded live that discusses the latest in breaking Apple news, as well as featuring fun trivia about all things Apple. Follow him on Twitter @stephenwarwick9