According to Bank of America Merrill Lynch analyst Wamsi Mohan, Apple has radical plans for the future of its iPhone lineup. Mohan issued a report stating that Apple was working on a flexible iPhone model, for release as early as 2020. In considering the upcoming new design, the Wall Street firm also reiterated its buy rating on Apple stock.
Mohan delivered the news after meeting with several Asian-based Apple suppliers. While major changes to the iPhone lineup are not expected before 2020, a foldable iPhone would be a departure from handsets to date. His note to clients was quoted by CNBC:
"We expect the iPhones this fall to be largely unchanged for the OLED versions although size changes have proved to be a catalyst in the past. Our checks also suggest that Apple is working with suppliers on a foldable phone (that potentially could double up as a tablet) for launch in 2020."
It's not clear what a foldable iPhone doubling as a tablet might look like, however the revised form factor would undoubtedly present engineering challenges. The iPhone X already incorporates a flexible OLED display, however the device itself does not bend. Apple has filed several patents including foldable or bendable devices over the years.
Both Samsung and Lenovo have shown off prototype devices with flexible displays. Last fall, LG and Apple were rumored to be working on a foldable smartphone. Apple already offers the LG UltraFine 5K Display in the Apple Store.