BoA Merrill Lynch: Apple is prepping a ‘foldable’ iPhone; U.S. and China trade tensions not an issue for Apple

“Apple plans to come out with a radically different iPhone design within two years, according to a top Wall Street firm,” Tae Kim reports for CNBC. “Bank of America Merrill Lynch said the smartphone maker is working with its Asian partners on a foldable phone.”

“‘We expect the iPhones this fall to be largely unchanged for the OLED versions although size changes have proved to be a catalyst in the past,’ analyst Wamsi Mohan wrote in a note to clients Friday. ‘Our checks also suggest that Apple is working with suppliers on a foldable phone (that potentially could double up as a tablet) for launch in 2020,'” Kim reports. “Mohan wrote his report after meeting several Apple suppliers in Asia.”

“The analyst does not believe the company’s products will be affected by increasing trade tensions between U.S. and China,” Kim reports. “‘Given that a substantial amount of iPhone and other electronics manufacturing is done in China, we do not see this as a particular area of retaliation from a trade context,’ he wrote.”

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: More display real estate in a small package is the Holy Grail of Pocketable Computing!

As we wrote back inJanuary 2016, “Imagine this invention used not just in an iPhone, but also in an iPad and a MacBook.”

SEE ALSO:
Designed in California. Assembled in China. How Apple’s iPhone skews U.S. trade deficit – March 21, 2018
President Trump’s tariffs on China likely to be 7 times larger than steel, aluminum import duties – March 20, 2018
Former Apple CEO weighs in on President Trump’s tariffs – March 14, 2018
President Trump eyes tariffs on up to $60 billion Chinese goods; tech and telecoms targeted – March 14, 2018
With President Trump’s tariffs, tech investors in Apple, other stocks are now in the crosshairs of trade war – March 12, 2018
Analyst: President Trump’s tariff impact on Apple would be just a ’rounding error’ – March 7, 2018
Apple and other tech firms caught in crossfire as U.S.-China trade war looms – March 7, 2018
Apple Macs caught up in President Trump’s aluminum tariff plan – March 2, 2018
Apple seeks patent for a foldable iPhone – November 28, 2017
Apple teams up with LG Display for foldable iPhone due to concerns over tech leaks to Samsung – October 11, 2017
Apple, LG Display discuss OLED display deal for 2019 – September 7, 2017
LG Display to supply OLED panels to Apple – July 31, 2017
Apple to invest $2.70 billion in LG Display’s OLED production – July 28, 2017
Apple and LG Display plan to derail Samsung’s OLED expansion plans – July 25, 2017
LG Display to invest $3.56 billion in flexible OLED plant – May 30, 2017
Apple patent details foldable iPhone – January 26, 2017
Apple granted U.S. patent for bendable or foldable iPhone using advanced carbon nanotube structures – November 1, 2016
Will the next-gen iPhone be a flip phone? Apple is granted another patent for new flexible handset design – November 22, 2016

20 Comments

    1. Are you thinking of the Microsoft Courier? That was never a real product. Folding devices aren’t a new idea but Apple’s idea does seem more ambitious with the folded out device being all screen. Other patents and mock ups I’ve seen have a visible and often large hinge area where this is no screen. There were tablet computers before the iPad too. They just weren’t very good.

        1. Okay… but every one of those I’ve ever seen has a visible hinge making it just two screens bolted together which suuuuucks. If Apple can do a device something like the foldable ones in Westworld that would be amazing and nothing like any previous device.

          1. Okay, but that is not so much a computing breakthrough. It’s more of a fashion design breakthrough. Not that you’re not allowed to like it, but whether I see bolts or not will not be the first thing I consider.

            1. What are you talking about? Have you read the patent? It has nothing to do with fashion. It’s display technology. Geez, I was giving you the benefit of the doubt but you live up to your name. A foldable device is more functional if when you unfold it the entire surface is one screen. That would be an incredible breakthrough with a wide range of useful applications.

            2. “I’m responding to your comment. Did you read the patent? You talked about looks, which is fashion, not me.”

              I did not talk about looks. I said a visible hinge and two screens bolted together suuuucks. I didn’t think I had to explain that is because it stops the two screens from being one seamless display which is the breakthrough. I don’t care who does it first btw just that someone does it. Apple does have a history of demonstrating the right implementation. There are no new ideas before you pull the inevitable comment poster first! move.

            3. A visible hinge is looks, isn’t it? Any hinge, visible or not is not seamless. Unless it’s a truly foldable display, is it? Did you read the patent, or is that just my reading assignment? The patent was not referenced. Also, not credit to LG? Typical.

            4. “A visible hinge is looks, isn’t it? Any hinge, visible or not is not seamless.”

              No, the hinge impairs function. Why you are stuck on fashion? This is all about function.

              “Also, not credit to LG? Typical.”

              Many companies are working on this, it isn’t just LG. There is lots of credit to go around. The hard part will be integrating flexible display technology into a device. The display alone looks great in demos. The device demos I’ve seen are horrible. Nobody gets to yell first! just yet. If I had to place a bet I would say Samsung will be first and the device will have many flaws. Apple will come along later and do it right. Internet trolls everywhere will explode. Life as usual.

              “Did you read the patent, or is that just my reading assignment?”

              Yes, I have read it and others on this subject.

            5. “do share, because the articles didn’t.”

              I’m going to assume you know how to search for patent information 🙂

              “Would I want a “seamed” but more functional device? Sure.”

              A device with a seam is less functional than one without. No seam is always going to be better. That is the goal. There will probably be two screen seamed devices first but those will be like phones before the iPhone. A kludge. Not great but better than nothing. I think there is a phone now or coming very soon like that. ZTE? It’s just two screens slapped together. There’s no breakthrough.

              The Courier concept was two screens slapped together but in a larger notebook form it was interesting. Microsoft lacked the design know-how to build it. A concept or a demo or a prototype is one thing. Working out a thousand real world problems to get a shipping product is a whole other ball game.

            6. The burden of referencing a patent lies on the author of the article as well as anyone referencing a patent. So thanks for playing. Apology retracted.

              No it’s not automatic that the seamless device is more functional. Not at all. What if it can be seamless due to thickness required for good batteries? Just one example.

            7. Also, get over the courier concept. A flip phone is a folding phone. A flip laptop is a folding laptop? Is that where you left off? The Courier? How about the Yoga? The Razr, the Startac,…

            8. “The burden of referencing a patent lies on the author of the article as well as anyone referencing a patent. So thanks for playing. Apology retracted.”

              If you don’t want to do your own homework I have no problem with that. Don’t blame me for your laziness. That seems to be a trend nowadays. People don’t take personal responsibility for anything.

              “Also, get over the courier concept. A flip phone is a folding phone. A flip laptop is a folding laptop? Is that where you left off? The Courier? How about the Yoga? The Razr, the Startac”

              What was interesting and functional about the Courier concept was two screens and IIRC the two screens could interact. That’s the function we’re discussing. If you want to talk about anything that folds then a book folds. There are some dual screen laptops and dual screen phones. Nothing good though.

              “No it’s not automatic that the seamless device is more functional.”

              Really? Gosh what an insight. All things being equal seamless is more functional and seamless is the breakthrough. Seamless is much harder to do in a functional device which is why we haven’t seen that yet while we have seen simple two screen devices with a hinge that gets in the way of total functionality.

              You just like to argue about anything don’t you?

            9. It’s not laziness, it’s called citation… In normal terms, it’s known as “back up your own words”. Which you, and also the author’s, did not.

              “You just like to argue….”
              Yes, it’s called discourse, and it’s how the truth comes out. We were not talking about “things being equal”. There can be scenarios where seamless is not better, just like there’s times when thin is not better.

            10. “It’s not laziness, it’s called citation… In normal terms, it’s known as “back up your own words”. Which you, and also the author’s, did not.”

              Then you dispute the existence of the patents. That’s the only reason to ask for a citation. Because you don’t believe something. You’re asking for proof. That’s not honest discourse. You know the patents exist. You know how to find them. No citation is needed when the knowledge is at your fingertips. The burden falls to you. You’ll say it doesn’t. However, it does.

              “We were not talking about “things being equal”. There can be scenarios where seamless is not better, just like there’s times when thin is not better.”

              No. A seamless foldable device is the discussion. You’d know that if you bothered to inform yourself. A seamless foldable device is the breakthrough many companies are working on. Even when that breakthrough happens older tech will still be better at some things. My old flip phone lasted a week on a single charge. That is better in one aspect than my current smartphone. ‘Better’ is not the discussion. ‘Breakthrough’ is the discussion. The original iPhone was terrible at a lot of things. It still carved an important path.

              You’re missing the interesting stuff because you’re right fighting. Stop trying to be right and start thinking about all the applications a seamless foldable display/device could have. A simpler hinged device doesn’t even come close. It isn’t interesting.

            11. “I should not need to research to back up your words. Citation, or it’s bullshit.”

              You don’t need to research. You only need to do a simple Google search and read. That is not research in the formal sense. Not at all. This isn’t a dialectic essay assignment with two possible answers. The knowledge is at your fingertips, literally. This is as easy as checking the weather forecast. You have confirmed for me that you are not interested in honest discourse. Good day.

            12. I will not lift a finger to back up your words. That obligation is on you, and you brought up the patent (assuming there’s only one) to which you were referring. It you that’s being disingenuous. So I call bullshit.

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