According to The Information, Apple has created two clamshell-style foldable iPhone prototypes, though they’re all in the early stages of development. If Apple were to move forward with foldable iPhones, they likely wouldn’t come to market until at least 2026.
Companies have so far been unable to address the technical issues of foldables. The first Samsung Galaxy Fold notoriously had a gap between the two halves of the screen, which debris fell into. Second, Apple’s designers have found it tough to create a foldable iPhone compelling enough to exist beyond the iPhone’s current form factor. On top of those challenges, engineers wanted to make each side half as thin as a regular iPhone, so it would be roughly the same thickness when folded. But the tech isn’t there yet, given battery sizes and display constraints.
It seems more likely that Apple’s first foldable device may be an iPad, which it’s reportedly been working on since 2020. The company is trying to avoid the crease that emerges in the center of foldable displays after repeated folds. Apple is also apparently trying to make sure the screen is totally flat when it’s opened, with no bump in the middle.
— Mat Smith
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