Thursday, March 7, 2019

New Apple Foldable Phone Details Suggest Different Approach

A recently published patent about Apple’s rumoured foldable phone reveals the iPhone maker will have a slightly different take on flexible display technology compared to its rivals.
The patent details how a potential future foldable device will be selectively heated where the screen bends in order to prevent damage when it’s flexed. The patent essentially suggests that foldable displays are at risk of damage when they're flexed at certain temperatures.
The patent goes on to say that Apple could prevent the device from folding if the screen is too cold, instead heating the hinge beforehand.
Patents aren’t necessarily good predictors of what a final device will look like or the technology that will be included. But it does reveal that the Cupertino-based company is thinking differently about foldable technology.
Interestingly, we’ve heard very little from foldable phone manufacturers like Samsung and Huawei about how flexible displays are susceptible to damage at lower temperatures. The timing of this patent - a week after two major foldable devices are released - couldn’t be better for Apple.
Last year a Qualcomm executive said that the components responsible for powering the pixels “are not flexible enough today” to withstand multiple bends. That may have changed of course, but the Galaxy Fold hasn’t been put through its paces and, as far as I know, isn’t with reviewers yet.
When the device is made available to reviewers and the public, I imagine we’ll see the infamous YouTube ‘drop test’ replaced with a bend test, with reviewers furiously folding devices until they break.
In any case, we simply don’t know how durable these devices are and given the cost of the Fold and Mate X are upwards of $2000, that’s important. If they're as sturdy as a chocolate teapot, then smartphone customers have a new issue to contend with alongside non-removable batteries that have a shelf life of about 1000 charges.
The temporary, throwaway, nature of these technologically amazing and wildly expensive devices - foldable or not - is something the industry needs to start thinking deeply about. Apple could well kickstart that conversation with longer-lasting display, but there’s a long way to go.
More on Forbes
Apple's Foldable iPhone Can Beat Samsung's Galaxy Fold In Two Ways
5 Reasons To Buy The Galaxy S10 Over The iPhone XS
Motorola Razr V4 Can Beat Samsung's Galaxy X With Two Features
New Microsoft Foldable Surface Phone Details Emerge

Apple May Have Trouble Finding 5G Modems For 2020 IPhones If It Doesn't Make Its Own

  Apple may only be planning to add 5G to 2020 iPhones, but even then the company might have a hard time acquiring needed modems, according to analysts.
There are four scenarios, "none of which is ideal," Cowen analyst Matthew Ramsay explained to Bloomberg. The first is to wait for a Intel modem, but the company might still end up with a chip without millimeter wave — a technology that enables the fastest form of 5G, albeit with short ranges.
The company could alternately order modems from Samsung, which has already announced a 5G phone, but that might be expensive given Samsung's strong negotiating position. No other chipmaker is said to be ready to offer off-the-shelf 5G parts — except for Qualcomm.
Qualcomm is the third option, Ramsay said, but he and other analysts have suggested it might already be too late to bring the firm back into the iPhone supply chain in time for 2020 devices. There have been no signs of a settlement in the two corporations' worldwide legal battle, and Apple's core lawsuit is slated to go to trial next month.
The fourth and least likely option would be Apple buying out Intel's modem business and finishing work itself, described as "VERY difficult against a 2H20 timeline."
The report skips a fifth option —Apple making its own without external input. Apple has been restructuring its internal hardware teams, possibly towards creating its own 5G modem.
Senior VP of hardware technologies Johny Srouji is allegedly overseeing that modem design, but it's unknown if the project is far enough along that it could be integrated into 2020 hardware. Apple has been designing other chips for about a decade, such as A-series processors and W-series wireless modules.

Apple's 2018 MacBook Pros Try To Fix 'flexgate' Issue, Report Says

The 2018 MacBook Pro may address a reported display problem.
Sarah Tew/CNET
Apple has apparently made a tweak to its 2018 MacBook Pro to address the "flexgate" problem, a teardown site reported.
Thousands of people have complained about the issue in a petition started last year, saying it caused problems with the backlight -- from a "stage light" effect at the bottom to a completely dead backlight -- in MacBook Pros from 2016 onward.
The underlying cause was suspected to be the deterioration of a thin display flex cable that runs through the hinge due to repeated opening and closing of the laptop over several years, iFixit reported back in January.
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Apple hasn't acknowledged the issue. iFixit noted that a repair would require a full screen replacement -- costing $700 -- because the cable is soldered to the display controller board.
However, the site reported on Monday that the 2018 MacBook Pro has a display cable that's 2mm longer, potentially solving the problem because it's under less strain as the laptop opens. iFixit engineer Taylor Dixon noted that he hadn't experienced the issue for himself, so he couldn't confirm the cause or whether it's solved.
Apple didn't immediately respond to a request for comment.
Apple MacBook Pro with Touch Bar


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