Look at how much has changed in mobile technology since the iPhone was introduced a mere seven years ago in early 2007. Smaller, lighter, faster is the norm for smartphones and tablets. 4k video is here and likely to show up on mobile devices within a year.
What caught my eye this week is something Samsung did and something Apple did; both different, both related.
Of Patents and Functionality
First up is Apple nemesis Samsung which applied for a patent for a smartphone with a tri-fold flexible display.
Instead of a Galaxy S5 with a screen staring you in the face, this futuristic device would fold out from the center to reveal three screens instead of one.
Voila! The smartphone becomes a tablet (how is that any worse than Microsoft’s new Surface which is a notebook trying to be a tablet?).
That’s a two-fisted smartphone idea if I’ve ever seen one, but Samsung’s crazy-assed way to turn a smartphone into a tablet tells us something about the future of the screens on mobile devices.
Thin. Light. Flexible. And not power hungry. Already there are prototypes of screens which can roll up like a scroll.
Second up is Samsung nemesis Apple and iOS 8 which seems to be stuck in two screen sizes; one for a 4-inch iPhone, and one for the iPad (both iPad mini and iPad Air have the same screen resolution; just different Retina pixels per inch).
How will Apple handle the age of multiple screen sizes? Will a 4.7-inch iPhone have the same resolution as a 4-inch iPhone? Will a 5.5-inch iPhone phablet have the same resolution as a 4-inch iPhone?
Nope. At WWDC 2014 Apple has acknowledged the screen size issues to developers, and introduced a new option for them to create an app’s user interface to suit different screen sizes, different resolutions, and different orientations.
And it’s about time. 3.5-inches might have been the perfect screen size for a smartphone to hold in your hand and pocket, but both the iPad Air and iPad mini, and the success of larger screen smartphones– so called Phablets– tell a more pragmatic Apple that the world is changing, and Apple needs to follow, lead, or get out of the way.
Not only will we see flexible, rollup, low power screens in the future, we’ll also see Apple ready to adapt to the changes in technology that the company does not control.