E Ink has recently announced a flexible color display. According to noted analyst Ming-Chi Kuo, Apple is reportedly experimenting with utilizing a color display from E Ink as an outer screen for an unannounced foldable instrument.
“The color EPD [Electronic Paper Display] can become a mainstream solution for foldable devices’ must-have cover/second screen appreciation to its excellent power-saving,” the analyst wrote. In addition, he counts that the E Ink display is also tested in “tablet-like applications.”
Today, most tablet-style foldable on the market pair a large folding inner display with a smaller external display for fast checking notifications. But existing devices like the Oppo Find N or Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 3 use OLED panels for both. Apple’s usage of an E Ink screen would almost definitely make for a less responsive outer display with more occasional colors, but, as Kuo notes, it could be far better power-efficient.
Although E Ink is best known for the monochrome displays that Amazon employs in its Kindles, the business also has a line of color screens. It recently reported E Ink Gallery 3, a new version of its color E Ink technology that can produce more colors at a higher resolution.
It can also refresh faster than the company’s earlier color screens, although it’s still nowhere close as responsive as an identical OLED or LCD panel. In addition, promotional videos unleashed by E Ink show how the display can be folded or moved.
There have been ongoing whispers that Apple is planning on joining the likes of Samsung and Huawei in unleashing a foldable device. In 2021, reports occurred that Apple was prototyping folding displays internally.
As of April this year, Kuo predicted that Apple could release a device with a 9-inch foldable display in 2025. Apple could have an extra device with a larger 20-inch foldable display, though it wouldn’t be eligible for release before 2026. Kuo’s latest prediction doesn’t mention the foldable size equipped with an E Ink display.
Although Apple would be delinquent in the foldable market, it has an ace up its sleeve in iPadOS; its tablet operating system boasts robust app support from third-party developers. In contrast, existing tablet-sized foldable from Samsung, Oppo, Huawei, and Honor rely on Android, whose apps offer inconsistent support for large-screen devices.
Apple’s foldable device is probably still years away. But Kuo’s latest update offers an exciting prospect of where Apple might be heading.