Apple is currently building two foldable iPhone prototypes, according to a new report sourced from “a person with direct knowledge of the situation”. These are flip-style devices, like the Samsung Galaxy Z Flip5 and the Oppo Find N3 Flip, and not larger devices like Samsung’s Galaxy Z Fold5 or the OnePlus Open.
This doesn’t mean Apple is now set on releasing foldables of its own, mind you – the company seems to simply be experimenting with the form factor. These phones aren’t part of Apple’s mass production plans for this year or 2025, so at the earliest we might see one in the fall of 2026 – that is, if the project ends up panning out. Apple has been talking to at least one Asian manufacturer to source parts for the foldable iPhone, but of course the project can still be canceled at any time if it doesn’t live up to Apple’s high standards.
Apple wanted to build such a foldable starting in 2018, one that would be as thin as the current iPhone models when closed, but battery and display tech simply isn’t there yet. Interestingly, the company apparently wanted the phone to have the display on the outside of the foldable when it’s folded – like a flip-style version of Huawei’s Mate X – which makes no sense to us and also understandably resulted in struggles with the design as such a phone breaks easily.
Then in 2020 Apple paused development of the foldable iPhone, focusing instead on the also-rumored foldable iPad, which isn’t expected to hit the market before 2026 either. And now they seem to be both worked on in parallel.
Currently, Apple engineers are trying to get rid of the display crease, and design a hinge that lets the screen lie totally flat, so that the Apple Pencil wouldn’t be negatively impacted by it in use. LG and Samsung Display are both tapped for the foldable iPad, it’s unclear what companies would be making the screens for the foldable iPhone.