All those complaints about Apple’s lack of recent smartphone innovation are being addressed as we speak with a foldable iPhone currently in development.
According to The Information (via Gizmodo), two prototypes of clamshell folding models similar to the Samsung Galaxy Z Flip have been tested; parallel to prototypes for a foldable iPad. However, they appear to be running into the same old obstacles that led them to abandon the project back in 2020.
What exactly is the issue given the multi-trillion-dollar tech giant’s South Korean rival has already delivered multiple iterations over the past few years?
Reports indicate Apple is aiming to produce a device that’s extremely thin when unfolded — roughly half the thickness of current iPhones, and remaining “fully flat” — as well as integrating an outward-facing display. Both of which have apparently been beyond the designers’ and engineers’ present-day capabilities.
“Apple’s team is very concerned about the fragility of these kinds of phones and who can blame them,” explains Gizmodo‘s Kyle Barr.
“Still, it would also need to be extremely thin so as not to take up too much pocket space when collapsed. Considering how hard it is to minimize the size of battery and display components, it’s a rather tough conundrum.”
“There’s also always the chance Apple will nix work on the prototypes if it can’t find a real ‘Apple’ way of doing a foldable phone. The company is still trying to discover more compelling features that would put an Apple foldable on the map.”
A foldable iPhone has intermittently been in the works for some time now; CEO Tim Cook approached Apple engineers as early as 2018 when the concept was the hot new thing. Since then, there have been ongoing murmurs of patents (the first was filed in 2019) and prototypes.
Based on what we’re hearing now, it’ll be a little longer before Apple’s foldable iPhone hits shelves. As per The Information, it ain’t on the docket for this year or even 2025. The earliest we should expect anything official is 2026. And by then, they will have taken over the world with Vision Pros.