Folding phones have been the talk of the tech community for the past few weeks, with Samsung, Huawei, and others venturing into the space. Apple, on the other hand, has yet to show their hand in the folding device space.
Many are hoping to see a folding iPhone in the future, allowing a (relatively) compact phone that becomes a larger tablet-like device as needed. A new concept video, posted to YouTube by Dongjae Krystofer Kim, imagines something a little different.
The 25-second clip shows a 12.8” “iPad U” that unfolds into an even more massive 17.7” tablet. The concept also imagines details like an iPhone X-style camera bump on the back.
Another key takeaway is the choice to place the screen on the outside of the device. This ensures that you can use the device in “compact” form factor, or expanded into the full width, all on a single screen. While this limits some of the possible features of a foldable tablet – like partially unfolded use with keyboard on 1 side and display on the other – it also provides a more dynamic experience when moving from small to large and back again.
The concept feels notably more exciting than the prospect of a folding phone, as one of the drawbacks of ever-larger iPads is the limitations of portability and comfort. Having a giant 17.7” screen when unfolded could enable the device to offer even more advanced multitasking and more elaborate applications.
While the concept doesn’t offer any ideas as to how iOS would cope with such a jump in display area, it’s not hard to picture an iPad mini-sized device that could unfold into a roughly 10.5” display area when unfolded.
The race to create folding devices is only beginning, and Apple will surely be slow to start (as they are in many hardware moves). A folding iPhone would likely see larger mass-market attention, but a folding iPad would give Apple a distinct difference in an folding wars.
Apple’s iPad devices already dominates the tablet market, and the desire for more screen and more functionality are never ending. If Apple were to pursue a folding tablet like the iPad U in the concept, it could satiate both of those demands without becoming unwieldy.
Whether Apple chooses to pursue a folding iPad or iPhone is entirely unknown at this point, and the market may never mature enough to see such a product. In the meantime, it doesn’t hurt to imagine how interesting or unique such a product could be.