Samsung's getting ready to build foldable displays for Apple — what you need to know

Foldable MacBook concept
(Image credit: adrstudiodesign)

Rumors of the iPhone Flip, foldable Macs and iPads just got a shot in the arm as Samsung Display (Apple's main partner for screens for its devices) has taken a big step in preparing to help make them, per The Elec and its industry sources.

Samsung Display has apparently just completed a restructuring of parts of the business in order to meet Apple's needs, with Samsung Display's Apple Business Team now trained on developing foldable displays designed specifically for its biggest client's devices, rather than selling it off-the-shelf panels.

The report also repeats the rumor that LG Display is also working on parts for Apple foldables, such as the rumored 20.25-inch foldable MacBook. Leaker Revegnus meanwhile adds that Apple's first foldable device could be arriving in 2027, but that is likely to be this tablet/laptop hybrid rather than a folding iPhone. That's also later than the 2024/2025 date we'd heard before.

One other tidbit from the report is that Samsung Display is also working to build up an "independent microdisplay team for XR devices," (via machine translation) referring to AR, VR and spatial computing. With the Apple Vision Pro headset launching next year, and demand for already-launched products like the Meta Quest 3 growing, Samsung is wise to prepare for this market to grow too.

Helping its rivals flourish

It's always weird to think that while Samsung's mobile division and Apple are long-term rivals, other parts of Samsung's operation deal with Apple and other competitors as clients. These displays often prove to be quite an asset to the devices that use them, beating the competition on metrics like brightness and color accuracy.

Although Apple's late to the foldables party, its historical habit of ensuring its latest innovations are highly refined before launch, plus its large and dedicated user base, should mean it has no trouble establishing a sizeable foothold in the market. Whether Apple's first foldable goes up against foldable phones like the OnePlus Open or Motorola Razr Plus, or foldable laptops like the Asus Zenbook 17 Fold or the HP Spectre Fold, Apple's got a good chance of beating them outright, or at least in some key areas. And as the world's top foldable display maker, whoever's devices come out on top, Samsung wins too.

Still, with three years or so to wait until Apple's first foldable, nobody would blame you for looking for a literal and metaphorical flexible device right now instead. For help with that take a look at our best foldable phone page, or check out our reviews linked above.

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Richard Priday
Assistant Phones Editor

Richard is based in London, covering news, reviews and how-tos for phones, tablets, gaming, and whatever else people need advice on. Following on from his MA in Magazine Journalism at the University of Sheffield, he's also written for WIRED U.K., The Register and Creative Bloq. When not at work, he's likely thinking about how to brew the perfect cup of specialty coffee.