A new Rumor Claims that Apple is working with Several Supply Chain Partners in Preparing for Future Foldable Devices
According to sources within Apple's supply chain, the company is aggressively developing folding devices. It not only continues to accumulate patents, but also is requiring Taiwan's supply chain to send in component samples for testing. Hon Hai's Foxconn and Shin Nikko are partners that Apple is reportedly relying on for its first folding iPhone.
At present, sources claim that Apple is evaluating the use of OLED or micro LED technology for its first foldable iPhone screen, as the two screens will affect subsequent assembly methods that are very different. The UDN report from Taiwan claims that sources are telling them that Apple's first foldable iPhone could be ready as soon as September 2022.
Further, Apple supply chain, sources claim that Apple is currently testing key components such as the screen and bearings of the folding machine. Reportedly Samsung will provide the display, New Nikko will be the main supplier of bearings and Foxconn for assembly.
In terms of other components, the report points out that "bearings play a key role in a folding iPhone as it provides the 'flexibility and extension' of the folding device.
In the past, the number of folding tests for laptop bearings was about 20,000 to 30,000, and for better specifications, it was up to 50,000. However, testing of mobile phones requires more than 100,000 times, and the specifications are more stringent. It is generally expected that the first foldable iPhone will use bearings and rely on the research and development capabilities of Taiwanese manufacturers such as Nippon Nippon, which has a high degree of cooperation with Apple in the notebook business in the past.
The UDN report further adds that the New Nikko has the ability to mass produce special bearings for the future folding devices. Nippon Nippon once pointed out that compared to laptop bearings, folded bearings need to withstand more bending times, so reliability is very important. Whether it is material, yield or design difficulty, they are much higher than laptop bearings, and their profit Also better.
While Samsung has released it's Galaxy Z Fold 2 device this year, I believe that Apple may be more concerned over Microsoft's Surface Duo just released. Although the software is still a work in progress for 2020, it's hardware is being hailed as being nothing shy of brilliant being light weight, easily foldable and more as noted in the initial hardware-only review by Marques Brownlee below.
The Surface Duo will be in a better market position in late 2021 as they work work out its software issues, as the company will also be releasing dual display tablets under the brand Surface Neo.
The dual display project is supported by Wintel partners HP, Dell and Lenovo. It's a trend that Apple may want to counter before the trend becomes a potential threat.