APPLE may be working on a foldable phone – and new 3D renders visualise exactly what it might look like.
The iPhone maker is under pressure now that Samsung has formally unveiled its foldable Galaxy Fold – but to land in Europe in May.
Samsung’s foldable smartphone is actually a 7-inch tablet that folds down into a 4.5-inch handset.
And Apple may be on the same track, after images of a patent for a foldable iPhone turned up online last week.
The sci-fi Apple designs revealed what the gadget could look like, but only in black-and-white 2D sketch form.
However, Dutch tech site LetsGoDigital has commissioned stunning 3D renders of the foldable iPhone, based on the patent designs.
The handset looks seriously impressive, folding horizontally across the middle when the device is held vertically.
From the renders, it looks as though the gadget can be closed like a book, flipped open to a tablet, and then flipped again to tuck down into a smartphone shape.
It might seem like a wacky idea, but there’s an obvious benefit to having a foldable gadget.
You can take advantage of a large tablet-sized screen, but fold it back down so it’s small enough to be pocketable.
However, there are also some big disadvantages.
The main one is that a foldable device with a bending screen is very hard to produce – and therefore extremely costly.
Samsung has confirmed that Brits will pay about £1,800 for the Galaxy Fold when it arrives, which is hugely expensive.
By comparison, Apple’s most expensive smartphone to date is the iPhone XS Max, which caps out at a comparatively cheap £1,449.
It’s like that a foldable Apple smartphone would cost much more than the iPhone XS Max.
The bad news is that Apple hasn’t actually confirmed plans to release a foldable smartphone.
A patent is simply proof that Apple has conjured up designs for a gadget – but doesn’t signal intent to actually create the device.
Apple may simply be squatting on its patent to prevent rivals from copying it.
Alternatively, Apple could charge other companies a licensing fee to borrow its own designs.
It’s also possible that Apple wanted to build a foldable phone, but then later changed its mind.
The next possible opportunity to catch a glimpse of such a device would be the rumoured iPhone 11 launch in September, but nothing is certain.
Read all about the other new Samsung smartphone – the Galaxy S10.
Check out our round-up of the super-fast 5G phones coming in 2019.
And here’s a great guide on how to read deleted WhatsApp messages.
Would you be tempted by a foldable smartphone? Let us know in the comments!