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Foldable iPhone May Be Coming by 2020

Edge-to-edge displays with minimal bezels? Sure, they're all right, but don't you think there a little early 2017? These days, phone makers with an eye toward the future are turning to phones with foldable displays.

Credit: Apple

(Image credit: Apple)

At least, that's the impression you'd get if you're following the smartphone rumor mill. Following reports that Samsung is looking to unfurl a foldable smartphone in 2018, a new rumor percolating in South Korea suggests that Apple is looking to develop a foldable iPhone.

Don't start rearranging your iPhone X preorders just yet, though. The report, appearing in the Korean news outlet The Bell, says the foldable iPhone won't hit the scene until 2020.

MORE: Samsung's Foldable Phone Surprise - New Details Emerge

Why are we hearing about a phone three years ahead of its reported launch date? It all has to do with Apple's suppliers getting parts ready for future phones.

The Bell report, which was picked up by The Investor and helpfully translated out of its original Korean, claims that Apple has tapped LG to supply it with foldable screens. That's not much of a stretch for LG, which has shown off bendable and rollable OLED panels in other venues.

This initial report on Apple's foldable iPhone plans focuses more on the minutiae of smartphone supply chains than the average phone shopper probably cares about. Just know that Apple is turning to LG likely because it wants to keep Samsung in the dark about the future of the iPhone. Samsung supplies the OLED panels for the iPhone X and will likely provide all the displays for next year's iPhones, too.

It's understandable why Apple might want to keep Samsung out of its foldable phone business, especially in light of rumors about the Galaxy X. That's the reported name of the foldable phone that looks likely to appear in 2018 after years of rumors that Samsung was on the cusp of releasing such a device.

Phones with displays that fold out into larger screens appears to be the next big thing in smartphone design, after Samsung, Apple and LG spent much of 2017 eliminating the bezels on their phones to squeeze in more screen real estate. In addition to Samsung, ZTE could have a foldable phone in the works, and Motorola parent Lenovo teased a concept phone design with a bendable screen more than a year ago.