It is gathered that the arrival of foldable smartphones is fueling speculation about how Apple will respond to the latest trend in terms of product mix and pricing.
Following the steps of Samsung and Huawei, handset brands including Xiaomi, LG Electronics, Vivo, Lenovo (Motorola) are said to be most likely to roll out their foldable smartphones in the near future.
Although the initial sales of foldable smartphones are believed to be limited, the multiple releases of foldable models by Android-based handset vendors could undermine Apple’s status as being a leader of innovation in the field, industry observers commented.
Apple apparently cannot afford to ignore this emerging trend and must be keen on developing foldable models, said the observers.
One of the indications is that Samsung Display reportedly has delivered samples of its flexible displays to Apple and Google for verification as the Korea-based panel maker is eager to expand its flexible panel business, the sources said.
The flexible display sample received by Apple reportedly comes in a 7.2-inch size, which is 0.1-inch smaller than the flexible display used by the Galaxy Fold, indicated the sources.
Recent images exposed on the US Patent and Trademark Office also indicated that Apple is enhancing its deployment in the flexible OLED technology, the sources added.
Data from Gartner showed that sales of iPhone devices declined 11.8% on year to 64.5 million units in the fourth quarter of 2018 when total global smartphone sales edged up 0.1% to 408.4 million units in the quarter.