Apple is working on a foldable phone that may double as a tablet when unfolded, according to a note sent out by Merril Lynch analyst Wamsi Mohan Friday. The same analyst only expects minor updates for this year’s iPhones, CNBC was first to report.
After meeting with Apple suppliers in Asia, Mohan came to the conclusion that “Apple is working with suppliers on a foldable phone (that potentially could double up as a tablet) for launch in 2020.”
It’s worth noting that these kinds of musings based on supply chain analysis can be fairly unreliable, especially when looking this far into the future. However, Apple has filed some patents for devices with foldable screens over the past few years.
Other companies have also looked at making phones with dual screens in the past. Chinese phone maker ZTE even released such a device, the Axon M, late last year, but failed to impress critics. And Flextronics, a company that has been working as a manufacturer of Apple products for some time, even developed a dual-screen Android phone prototype all the way back in 2009.
If Apple was to actually build a foldable phone, it’s likely that the company would go beyond just putting a hinge on two screens. A number of new screen technologies have made screens more flexible, with screen manufacturers exploring everything from bendable to rollable displays.
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Apple didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment.