in ,

iPhone Flip: what we know about Apple’s first foldable phone

Samsung has emerged as one of the industry’s top producers of foldable gadgets in recent years, including the Galaxy Z Flip 4 and Galaxy Z Fold 4. Although it is not the only company producing foldable gadgets, it is the most popular and readily available, particularly in the United States. Yet, that raises the question of whether Apple would follow suit and release an iPad or possibly a foldable iPhone.

There have been ongoing speculations that Apple could be working on such a device, including a foldable iPhone, which we’ll name “iPhone Flip” for now. There may very well be some research and development (R&D) being done on such a device because Apple is a secretive firm. Of course, for the time being, this is all just conjecture. Here is everything that we currently know about Apple’s folding iPhone based on the most recent news, rum ours, and reports!

iPhone Flip: design and display

About the design that Apple may finally choose for its first foldable iPhone, very little is known. Samsung has the two most obvious styles covered with the Galaxy Z Flip 4 and Galaxy Z Fold 4, but Apple is not required to imitate them. Apple has applied for dozens of patents that appear to show ideas for a foldable iPhone, but these have so many potential outcomes that it is now impossible to predict which course the corporation will take. None of these can be accurate.

Apple is undoubtedly developing foldable prototypes, as is known. According to numerous sources, Apple has been researching and developing foldable OLED panels and hinges at least since 2017 and is continuing doing so.

LG started mass-producing foldable displays in 2016, indicating that it intended to sell them to a number of businesses, including Apple. As it was reported that Apple and LG were actively working together to develop specific foldable display technology for a next iPhone, the idea gained additional traction in late 2017.

Samsung Display and Apple reportedly agreed to a contract in 2020 whereby Samsung Display will provide a “substantial number” of foldable display samples over the course of a year for use in testing foldable iPhone prototypes. Apple apparently started testing hinges at the same time and was searching for a display and hinge that could resist up to 100,000 folds.

To give you some context, the majority of laptop hinges are designed to withstand between 30,000 and 50,000 folds. The Galaxy Z Fold 4 can, however, endure at least 200,000 folds. If Apple has now upgraded its standards to meet Samsung’s, we haven’t heard about it.

Additionally, it looks that Apple is trying a few radically different designs. Leaker Jon Prosser claimed to have seen a prototype of a gadget in early 2020 that utilized two screens rather than a single folding display, akin to Microsoft’s Surface Neo and Surface Duo.

But by the following year, according to Prosser’s sources, Apple would be concentrating all of its efforts on a clamshell folding iPhone with a look similar to the Galaxy Z Flip after finishing the initial phase of hinge testing. Additionally, Prosser asserted that this iPhone would be available in more “joyous” hues to appeal to “more mainstream users.”

Industry expert Ming-Chi Kuon asserted that Apple’s first foldable device would be far larger and could not even be an iPhone in the traditional sense. Instead, Kuon foresaw a completely new class of gadgets that will resemble both the iPhone and the iPad and have a 7.5 to 8-inch display. Kuon doesn’t assert to have observed any instances of this device, in contrast to Prosser.

It’s important to note that while Prosser has frequently predicted the release dates of Apple products, he has a considerably less trustworthy track record when it comes to Apple products because he mostly depends on sources who assert to have inside knowledge of what’s happening within Apple. In contrast, Kuon typically makes predictions by observing patterns in Apple’s supply chain and the kinds of components that are in demand.

Of course, Apple might be developing two products, similar to Samsung, including an amusing “iPhone Flip” that folds into a clamshell and is more business-oriented, as well as a “iPhone Fold” or “iPad Fold” that is more serious.

Apple just received a new patent that might lead to folding iPhones in the future as well as touch-sensitive control areas, including solid-state buttons, on the surface of the present iPhone design. With the use of this patent, Apple may make the iPhone, foldable or not, touch sensitive on both sides and edges. Electronic Devices With Display And Touch Sensor Structures is the name of the new patent, which illustrates how practical it would be to tap, swipe, or simply touch an iPhone to operate it.

According to Apple, it can be difficult to effectively display images to users and collect touch input from them. For instance, if a user touches a touch screen display, their hand may obstruct the images from appearing on the display. It is possible to collect input from a user using buttons and other input devices, however these devices might not be as practical and flexible as touch sensors. Sometimes displays are too small and difficult to see from certain angles.

The patent also distinguishes between “sidewalls,” the curved sides of a prospective folding gadget, and the straight edges featured on the existing iPhone design.

According to the patent, “the front wall and sections of the sides may be constructed from a glass layer or other transparent member.” “The front and sidewall portions of the glass layer may be covered by a touch sensor layer and display layer… The opposing rear wall may also be penetrated by a touch sensor layer.

It’s important to note that even though Apple has been granted these new patents that show a foldable device, it doesn’t guarantee that anything will come of it. Still, this looks like a promising development for a potential foldable iPhone.

iPhone Flip: cameras and other specs

A story from Bloomberg’s Mark German from the beginning of 2021 might put the claims of leakers who say they’ve already seen folding iPhone prototypes under some doubt. German claims that Apple hasn’t advanced past the display in its efforts to create a foldable iPhone and that the corporation “doesn’t currently have whole handset prototypes in its labs.”

We haven’t heard much more than the odd confirmation that Apple is still in the early phases of experimenting with various designs in the roughly two years since that story.

There hasn’t been any information published on the cameras, CPUs, and other things we’ll see. At this point, it is unlikely that Apple has even made these decisions, so this is not surprising. Of course, there is a tone of speculation, but it is best tremendous remain skeptical of it all.

iPhone Flip: software

Apple is probably working diligently on the software side of things even if the majority of leaks and reports have been on the hardware and design of a foldable iPhone. The current versions of iOS and iPad OS won’t convert well to a foldable design. The software interface is just as crucial to the foldable experience as the hardware design, as Samsung’s Galaxy Z Fold 4 model this year shown.

Apple is rumored to be already kicking around ideas for a foldable version of its mobile operating system given the company’s fastidious attention to user experiences. We might see a totally new iOS derivative on the iPhone Flip, depending on the direction the device takes.

iPhone Flip: release date

Although aggressively exploring ideas for at least one foldable iPhone, many insiders claim that Apple isn’t yet fully sold on the concept. At best, it will be years before we see a foldable iPhone; at worst, it might never come to pass.

German explicitly stated that Apple has not “solidified plans to actually introduce a foldable iPhone” in his early 2021 report. Early in 2022, Mac Rumors published a message from leaker “Diel ankh,” in which he said that Apple was still unsure about the viability of foldable display technology and whether there was even a big enough demand for foldable devices.

The leaker said in a Tweet thread that has since been removed along with Diel ankh’s Twitter account that while Apple is continuously working on new concepts, some employees believe that display technology is still in its infancy.

That Apple is “playing the long game” and waiting to see how the technology develops is not surprising, according to sources. Additionally, it wants to ensure that there is a substantial market for foldable devices and that they are not just a short-lived trend.

The first foldable iPhone, aimed at mainstream consumers, was expected to be released by Apple by 2023, according to Kio’s prediction from the previous year. He also anticipated that shipments may reach up to 20 million devices in the first year. In order to offer itself “a long-term competitive advantage” and position itself as “the largest winner in the new foldable device trend,” Kio also anticipates Apple will employ the most cutting-edge display technology available.

However earlier this year, display analyst Ross Young, who has a very good track record when it comes to anything related screen technology, said that he’d been told by people in the supply chain that a foldable iPhone won’t be showing out before 2025, and that’s just a very rough estimate. In his February 2022 report on the shipment and technology of foldable/roll able displays, Young stated that the business “does not appear to be in a hurry to enter the foldable smartphone market, and it may even take longer than that.” A few of months later, Kuok backed up this timeframe.

It’s critical to keep in mind that 2025 is merely the most recent estimate in a lengthy line of rumors’ and forecasts. Analysts and leakers believed a foldable iPhone would be released by 2021, but that date eventually slipped to 2022, then 2023. As 2025 has passed, we don’t advise holding your breath in hopes that this prediction will prove to be any more accurate than the others.

People haven’t started dumping the iPhone in droves in favor of foldable gadgets just yet. Apple continues to annually sell hundreds of millions of brand-new iPhones, frequently without even trying. Apple has little motivation to priorities an iPhone Flip until that slows down or rival devices like the Galaxy Z Flip 4 become wildly popular. However, it appears that you’ll have to swap sides if you really want a foldable smartphone in the near future and utilize an iPhone.

If you’re still dubious about an iPhone that folds, know that I was too, too, until I used a Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 4. Now, the prospect of a foldable iPhone excites me.