Like all technologies that arrive at the consumer’s doorstep, foldable displays are not new technologies. They have been around since the mid-2000s. There was a dream about having displays rolled around like a scroll and unfolded when they needed to be used. Early patents for foldable display apparatus were unveiled in 2014.

Most smartphone manufacturer believes that folding displays are the next evolution in devices that we bring everywhere. And it is rightly so. Samsung’s Galaxy Fold lines are the best in the business and their Galaxy Fold smartphones are highly desirable and well built. However, Apple’s focus is far more than that. Here’s why Apple might do foldable devices shortly.

Apple Do Study Foldables

Apple spens around 10% of its revenue on research and development, more than most companies in USA entire revenue.

Apple spends around 10% of its annual earnings on Research & Development (R&D). That’s around $20 to $30 billion in 2023. At $30 billion, Apple spent more on research than Visa, the 137th biggest company in the USA, makes money. So with that much money, Apple can afford to study a lot of things and yes, they do explore the possibility of a foldable iPhone or iPad.

Several prototypes that appears as patents owned by Apple

And there are a few patents that Apple made prototype devices with portable displays.

And there are a few reasons why Apple wants to explore and study foldables. Having an iPhone in your pocket which you can expand into iPad size is a sexy idea. But there are a few reasons why Apple didn’t bring that device to market.

Apple patent on a rollable display computer.

Wayne Gretzky

What does Apple have in connection with Wayne Gretzky, arguably the most famous ice hockey player? There’s this presentation where Steve Jobs, founder of Apple quotes Wayne Gretzky

I skate to where the puck is going to be, not where it has been …

So Apple’s focus is being where the next trend will be, not just an evolution of current tech.

AR goggles is the Future

So Apple believes that the future is not a smartphone in your pocket, but a new kind of computing where the virtual and reality blend. Where the virtual augments reality. Augmented Reality.

Apple is betting the future is a head mounted display, not foldable devices.

Apple’s vision through its product, the Vision Pro, is spatial computing. Apple believes that having screens near your eye, simulating reality, and having virtual screens hovering around wherever in your field of view, is the future.

Some people agree with Apple’s Vision

This is not the future of AR or VR, this is the future interface of all computing - Casey Neistat

When I take it [the Vision Pro] off, every other device feels flat and boring: My 75-inch OLED TV feels like a CRT from the ’90s; my iPhone feels like a flip phone from yesteryear, and even the real world around me feels surprisingly flat. - Nick Bilton, Vanity Fair

You put your virtual screens everywhere. Forget iPad or big screen TV. This is the future


This Apple patent is from 2006 when they haven't even release their iPhones.

Apple is a company with long-term plans that come into fruition years and even decades after that first step. This patent shows that Apple has mock-ups of Vision Pro at least 2006: when Apple #1 product is iPods and Apple just start selling Intel Macs.

What will they think of next?


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