This year’s highly-anticipated iPhone 7 will be the tenth iteration of the iconic smartphone, although it won’t fall on the device’s ten-year anniversary. Word has reached Mobile Industry Review that this year’s model will in fact be the last iPhone as we know it; in 2017, sources claim that the iPhone 8 will be a “revolutionary” device with radical new capabilities as well as an entirely new and unusual form factor.
Joseph King, a product manager at Apple told the New York Times this week that “Apple has borne a lot of criticism in recent years for iterative designs, but next year’s “iPhone” won’t even really be an iPhone in the traditional sense; rather, it may end up being a radically new and flexible device that will push the boundaries of personal communications devices and wearables”, adding “…we have finally reached the point where just about any form factor can be realised, through advanced materials, miniaturisation and flexible display components, giving our design teams complete freedom to imagine new form factors”.
Jony Ive, Apple’s design guru, also hinted at a fold-out iPhone in November 2015. Speaking at a re/code conference, he told the audience “Different’ and ‘new’ is relatively easy. Doing something that’s genuinely better is very hard. For me, new screen technologies have the most promise in affording us the ability to design a more intuitive and compelling device”.
Furthermore, BendyFlex, one of Apple’s Chinese component suppliers that provides display controller chips and other advanced display technology, allegedly leaked a schematic of a 4-inch device showing what appears to be a foldable display that opens up to the size of an A4 piece of paper. Company CEO May Dupph has refused to comment on the plans, likely because Apple imposes strict controls over security and even levies huge fines on suppliers that fall foul of its policies.
While the blueprints out of the Far East have not been verified, it appears that Apple is seriously considering a fold-out display that can be used in all manner of different ways in its forthcoming iOS devices.
Flexible screens are nothing new, in fact companies such as LG and Samsung have already invested billions in the development of flexible display technology.
The pieces of the puzzle are all coming together, as Apple Insider recently reported that Taiwanese software developer and Twitter user Fibb Ing found code buried deep in iOS 9.3 referencing a 4-inch foldout display:
There’s an interesting article here about what bendable screens mean for the future of user interfaces, and it seems that Apple has taken a leaf out of the same playbook.
It seems that future iPhone flagships really could fit in your pocket yet fold out into a stunning and more versatile display.
Roll on the iPhone 8!