Talk of a folding device from Apple has lingered for years. It may not be a phone, but most talk suggests that we’ll see it next year. What it might look like, or even what it’ll be, is as closely guarded a secret as almost any Apple device. But there’s a suggestion that the company is investigating using an e-ink display on it.
Which doesn’t mean Amazon is kicking itself for not figuring out that a folding Kindle is a brilliant idea. (It really is, though). Nope, Apple’s e-ink investigations are for the outside of this not-totally-fictional piece of technology. Allegedly.
Folding (at home?)
Apple is testing E Ink’s Electronic Paper Display (EPD) for future foldable device’s cover screen & tablet-like applications. The color EPD has the potential to become a mainstream solution for foldable devices’ must-have cover/second screen thanks to its excellent power-saving.
— 郭明錤 (Ming-Chi Kuo) (@mingchikuo) May 17, 2022
The report of some e-ink love for Apple’s unnamed folding whatever-it-is comes by way of everyone’s favourite Apple analyst, Ming-Chi Kuo. The Electronic Paper Display or EPD, Kuo reckons, will form the cover screen of a folding device. You know, the outward-facing screen that lets you stress about notifications even when you don’t have the thing sitting open?
Kuo also mentions “tablet-like applications”. This could refer to Apple apparently first launching a folding iPad/MacBook-like device, as suggested by Bloomberg‘s Mark Gurman. Gurman usually has the right idea when it comes to Apple’s future moves, and it also makes a kind of sense. You can take a smartphone and fold it in half for a slightly bigger screen. Doing the same thing with a tablet offers a much larger display and the potential for making a software keyboard the default input method.
Apple’s operating systems, built around the hardware the way they are, are also perfect for a laptop-sized folding screen. There are no random hardware configurations to deal with, so there’s only one set of problems to overcome. Install the Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 3 OS on literally any other folding Android device (assuming that was easy to do at all) and you’ll see just how complicated it is to get the tech working.
As to when we’ll see an e-ink display on an Apple device… maybe next year, when the first folding device is expected to drop. For real this time, guys. Really. Or maybe never. Apple’s said to be testing the tech. Tests don’t mean acceptance. This is a fact that every slow learner (without rich parents) who has attempted to make it into university has found out.