One of the tech industry’s more unusual dreams is a foldable smartphone, either a phone you can roll up and unfold like a snap bracelet, or that folds open like a sheet of paper. Apple, though, has largely stayed out of this rumor mill, a few intriguing patents aside. But new rumors claim Apple has joined the race to make a phone that folds, and it might possibly mark an iPhone that unfolds into an iPad.
Variety is reporting that supply chain analysts believe Apple is ramping up to deliver a folding iPhone by 2020. It’s worth noting that “foldable” phone tech is already out there, to some degree; “flexible” screens are used on phones like the Galaxy Edge, and turn up in more phones than you think. Flexible screens can take more damage, so they’re becoming popular as a way to boost a phone’s durability.
Still, the more ambitious goal, of what amounts to essentially a super-smart bit of origami, has largely remained the province of conceptual designs and science fiction. And not everybody is convinced the future involves folding phones, as holographic displays and augmented reality have made surprising in-roads into the consumer market. Still, it seems likely that one way or the other, the standard smartphone screen is about to be pushed to the side.