Apple is persevering with foldable iPhone designs, according to a new report by The Information. The publication says Apple has been exploring foldable iPhones as early as 2018, and currently has at least two active prototypes of models that fold like clamshell.
The new foldable iPhone is described as being in early development, so don’t expect it to launch anytime soon. Apple has also been developing a larger form-factor foldable iPad, having faced challenges with the foldable iPhone project, according to the report ..
Apple is said to have recently discussed component orders with manufacturers in Asia, for a foldable iPhone in two different sizes. Still, The Information warns the project may be cancelled if the final product cannot meet Apple’s design standards.
The report claims Apple’s industrial design team wanted to create a device that is half as thin as current iPhone models, so that when folded shut, it isn’t too thick. They have also explored adding screens that face outwards, so that they can be seen when the device is closed. However, the practical realities of components like batteries and displays have made it difficult for engineering to reach these lofty goals.
The Information says Apple put the foldable iPhone project on hold around 2020 and instead focused on an inward folding iPad, about the size of an iPad mini. That device would have an approximately eight-inch screen. A foldable iPad has less stringent durability requirements compared to a phone form factor. The iPad could also allowed to be thicker, as it wouldn’t be expected to be stowed in pockets.
Apple is said to be working on ways to reduce the crease in the middle of the display that appears after folding many times. The company wants the device to lie completely flat, allowing users to interact with the screen and freely draw on it with accessories like Apple Pencil.
It’s unclear whether Apple has been successful at solving these problems. At least for the iPhone 16 and 17, do not expect an Apple foldable to be released. A couple of years ago, Apple was said to be planning a foldable for 2025, but that scheduled has seemingly been pushed back.
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