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Singapore — The word on the tech grapevine is that Apple may be working on designs for a foldable iPhone, possibly one with a stylus. Tech rivals Samsung, Huawei and Motorola have already launched phones with flippable and foldable screens (though not without their many issues), so it will be interesting to see if and when Apple will be getting on the trend.
When the rumours began
The rumours hinting at a foldable iPhone, which has been christened the “iPhone Flip” by the internet, began in 2016 after LG was reportedly making foldable displays for smartphones to supply them to companies like Google and Apple.
In 2017, the story was that Apple was supposedly partnering up with LG, which has foldable display prototypes that utilise flexible OLED panels, to develop the first iPhone with a foldable display. LG’s foldable displays feature different designs—one folds over like a book and another screen rolls like a newspaper.
In September 2020, a leak on Chinese social network Weibo suggested that Apple had ordered a “large number” of foldable screens from South Korean rival Samsung, which in 2019 and 2020 launched two transforming smartphones with foldable screens—the Galaxy Fold and the Galaxy Z Flip.
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While the Galaxy Fold transitions from a 4.6-inch smartphone into a 7.3-inch tablet, the Galaxy Z Flip goes in the opposite direction—from a 6.7-inch smartphone that folds in half to be a smaller, more portable phone.
Other smartphone companies like Huawei and Motorola have also launched foldable smartphones, but the technology is new and customers have been reporting problems—such as cracked, warped screens—with all the foldable display devices on the market.
In January 2021, Bloomberg reported that Apple has begun “early work” on an iPhone with a foldable display, although the tech company has not voiced any official commitment towards releasing a foldable device.
The Bloomberg article noted that a foldable iPhone is probably still “years away” or “ultimately may never be introduced,” with Apple mostly focusing on the updates to its flagship iPhones and iPads that are coming in 2021.
The leaks continue
Jon Prosser, host of the popular tech YouTube channel Front Page Tech since 2013, recently leaked that Apple has supposedly finalised the form factor for a new foldable iPhone. MacRumours reported that while Mr Prosser has been correct with a few Apple rumours in the past, he has also dished out incorrect information.
In the video, Mr Prosser claimed that design-wise, Apple is “leaning heavily in favour” of a clamshell design, with the foldable screen on the inside once the phone is flipped shut.
Mr Prosser said that the prototype Apple is working on has two separate display panels connected by a hinge, unlike Samsung’s Galaxy Fold, which is a single display design. He also added that the foldable iPhone will have round, stainless steel edges and Face ID.
According to international analytics firm EqualOcean, Apple won’t be launching any foldable display products until 2023, but it claims that the first foldable iPhone will feature a 7.3-inch to 7.6-inch display, with an “activity pen” or a stylus.
At the moment, there is no concrete evidence that Apple is working on or will launch an iPhone with a foldable screen, but the rumours and leaks continue, along with the speculation and excitement.
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