After the head phone manufacturers Samsung and Huawei successively launched two or three generations of folding screen mobile phones, news from the supply chain about Apple’s folding screen phones has also intensified.
At the beginning of this year, the market and supply chain started a new round of leaks about Apple’s folding screen mobile phones. In January, Bloomberg said that Apple has begun to develop foldable screen phones and make prototypes.
Which one will come First full Screen iPhone, or Folding iPhone,
Apple is considering producing a foldable screen phone with “almost invisible hinges”, similar in size to the iPhone 12 Pro Max, but it may still take several years to finally market.
According to news from well-known overseas technology bloggers Jon Prosser, Digitimes, and Taiwan’s “Economic Daily”, Apple’s folding screen mobile phone solution is similar to Samsung’s Galaxy Z Flip (top and bottom flip), which is being tested by Foxconn, Taiwan The release time of the folding screen mobile phone may be introduced to the market earlier than the node we imagined.
Compared to product release rumors, Apple’s folding screen patent was the first to start the market outpost.
As early as 2016, the United States Patent and Trademark Office announced a foldable iPhone with a flexible OLED display, similar in appearance to Motorola’s flip phones in the 90s.
In Q2 of 2018, the patent submitted by Apple showed that when the iPhone foldable screen phone is closed, it will leave a display bar similar to a touch bar, which is convenient for users to read information.
In February, March, and October 2020, Apple won patents on hinge creases, display life, joint collaboration between folding dual screens, and reduction of screen scratches and dents
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Apple’s folding screen patents are iteratively fast, but those who are familiar with the commercial operations of technology companies must know that there is no inevitable connection between the layout of the patent and the introduction of products to the market.
This adds a sense of mystery to the timetable of Apple’s folding screen mobile phone. Not only folding screen mobile phones, Apple’s full-screen mobile phones are also constantly “bounce”.
The outside world is speculating whether Apple’s full-screen or folding screen mobile phones will be the first to appear. Since the first generation of iPhone created the era of full touch screen, the minimalist design language and detail-oriented product logic of Apple mobile phones have been the target of many mobile phone manufacturers to imitate and benchmark. But in the era of full screens and folding screens, Apple’s lead seems to have begun to “fail.”
There are reasons behind the absence of full screen
In 2018 and 2019, the Android mobile phone camp began to “surpass” Apple, and major mobile phone manufacturers tested full-screen mobile phones.
In June 2018, OPPO and vivo took the lead in launching full-screen mobile phones without any gaps. OPPO Find X uses a lift camera, and vivo NEX uses a pop-up front camera. Both are electromechanical solutions.
The front of the phone is a single piece. screen. Other mobile phone manufacturers, Honor Magic2, Xiaomi MIX 3, Lenovo Z5 Pro are designed for manual sliding cover. In 2019, Samsung integrated sliding cover, electric machinery and other solutions, and launched the A80 mobile phone with a lifting flip camera.
However, most of these mobile phones belong to high-end product lines and concept models. In the face of a wider audience, mobile phone manufacturers have released compromise solutions, the route is not radical, and the screen gap is small. For example, the water drop screen and the digging screen.
The OPPO R17, vivo X23, and Huawei Mate 20 launched in 2018 adopted water drop screens. At the end of the year, Samsung Galaxy A8s, Huawei nova 4, and Honor V20 became the representatives of digging screen phones.
The exploration of full-screen phones by mobile phone manufacturers in the Android camp obviously goes beyond this.
In 2019, OPPO demonstrated two under-screen camera engineering machines. At the beginning of 2020, vivo also followed up and showed an APEX 2020, a concept phone with an under-screen camera.
The under-screen camera does not cut the screen, ensuring the integrity of a whole screen, while taking into account the front camera function. However, the concept phones of OPPO and vivo are only display products, but ZTE AXON 20 is the real mass production.
In contrast, the shape of the Apple mobile phone screen has been very stable. After the iPhone X came out, the iPhone has been using the notch design.As a result, Apple has become a “heterogeneous” in mobile phones, and its innovative capabilities have been questioned. Is this really the case?
“Android manufacturers can release many models a year, some of them are sold in volume, and some are just as exploration products of new technologies. Apple is different. Only a few models are released each year, which is more stable in innovation.
From the perspective of business decision Said that Apple is unlikely to take the risk and bear the risk of failure.” Fang Jing, chief analyst of the electronics industry at Cinda Securities, told Geek Park.
after all,Apple is not a technology company known for taking risks, and full-screen mobile phone solutions are not perfect.
For example, electromechanical pop-up cameras may be hit by objects during use and out of control, water, dust, and dirt may damage mechanical parts; pop-up flip-up cameras are complicated to repair; under-screen cameras cannot well solve the problem of display and screen light transmittance. , Resulting in poor actual photo effects.
At the same time, Apple also needs to balance new technology and product design aesthetics. After Apple canceled the fingerprint Touch ID, it is firmly optimistic about Face ID (face recognition 3D structured light technology, portrait photography, Animoji augmented reality).
However, the Face ID system is complicated. The notch of Liu Haiping contains flood light sensing elements, sensors, infrared cameras, dot-matrix projectors and many other components. Liu Haiping is a compromise with the existing engineering design.
“After Cook took office, Apple focused on micro-innovation and devoted more energy to ecological business. Apple’s Internet business revenue has gradually increased, and more users are acquired through price hierarchy. Hardware innovation is no longer Apple’s core focus. “Fang Jing said.
However, because of market competitors and the new crown epidemic, things are still changing.
Folding screens and full screens are a bit difficult
In 2019, Bloomberg reported that Apple’s internal and overseas suppliers are testing screen fingerprint recognition technology. In view of the fact that mainstream Android mobile phone manufacturers such as Samsung, Huawei, OPPO, vivo, and Xiaomi all adopt screen fingerprint recognition technology to eliminate the visual imbalance caused by bangs and bezels.
Following Apple’s launch of fingerprint recognition in 2013 and Face ID facial recognition replacing fingerprint recognition in 2017, Apple may return to the fingerprint recognition camp again in 2021 and will be the first to use it on the low-cost mobile phone product line iPhone SE.
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The variables of the new crown epidemic have accelerated this process. During the epidemic, most people wore masks, which severely hindered the use of Apple’s Face ID function. Fingerprint recognition may be the biggest improvement in the continuation of the “smaller upgrade” route of the iPhone product line this year.
Fang Jing believes that, on the one hand, the notch screen is large and the user experience is not as good as the hole-digging screen; on the other hand, there are few AI applications that Apple is optimistic about. The commercial market is result-oriented. The words are still very far away.
If a full-screen mobile phone requires Apple to make a trade-off between the technical route and user experience, the folding screen mobile phone is a completely different path.
In 2019, Samsung and Huawei launched foldable mobile phones together. Samsung and Huawei have adopted two different folding schemes, one inward fold and one outward fold. As a new species of mobile phone form, large-scale mass production of folding screen mobile phones has been put into the market, and a series of unexpected situations have appeared.
Samsung’s evaluation of the Galaxy Fold to the media showed that the screen was raised, black, and broken, and there were also loopholes between the hinge and the screen. After subsequent repairs, it was put on the market again.
In the two years since folding screen phones entered the market, both the price and the user base have been relatively high. At the beginning of this year, Huawei’s third-generation folding screen mobile phone Mate X2 was priced at more than 17,999 yuan, and the Samsung Galaxy Z Fold2 5G price also reached 16,999 yuan. Even if some old models have price cuts, the prices are hovering around 10,000 yuan.
IDC statistics show that in 2020, the global shipment of folding screen mobile phones will be 1,947,300, with a penetration rate of only 0.15%.
Although, after the beginning of 2021, the market is rumored that after Huawei and Samsung, OPPO, vivo, Xiaomi, and even Apple may launch folding screen mobile phones in the second half of the year, but the high price, folding screen crease processing, screen material and other technical difficulties , There is still a long way to go before the critical point of the full-scale explosion of folding screen mobile phones.
“Apple rarely turns its head on the design route, and the end of the story is often one way to the end.” Fang Jing reviewed Apple’s previous design route to the Geek Park.
Abandoning Liu Haiping means that Apple abandons the AI and 3D structured light technology route, and choosing a folding screen means breaking Apple’s product line layout that has continued for many years. Which of the full-screen or folding-screen mobile phones can be the first “accident” for Apple, I am afraid that time and the market can only answer it.