Apple foldable iPhone will be revealed in 'less than a year'

Apple foldable iPhone will be revealed in 'less than a year'
An unofficial design for the folding iPhone. (Image credit: Robby Fester)

The world has been wondering when we'll finally see an foldable iPhone. With foldable phones gradually coming onto the market, it feels like it's only a matter of time. And now an expert predicts we’ll see it next year.

William LaCourse, professor of glass science at Alfred University (based in Alfred, NY), is the man behind this claim, along with new information that's come from glass maker Corning (via T3).

Corning is famous for its Gorilla Glass products, which you'll find on a wide array of the best phones. The company is currently developing products for use on foldable devices, which LaCourse says likely means that Apple is "less than a year away from an announcement" of its first folding phone, using this new kind of Corning glass.

LaCourse estimates that this device would only go on sale within 12 - 18 months, meaning that we'll definitely see the Galaxy Fold 2 and other new foldable phones hit the market before a foldable iPhone.

Foldables at the moment don’t use glass for their displays, but plastic instead. It’s more flexible, which is ideal for a folding phone, but this also makes the displays far easier to damage. The Galaxy Z Flip’s marketing material says that it uses "ultra-thin glass", although a Galaxy Z Flip teardown determined that that the screen behaves more like plastic in terms of taking damage.

Apple is definitely working on a foldable device, as evidenced by several patents we've seen over the last year or so. There’s one for a three-part folding iPhone, and another for heating the flexible display so it’s less brittle when used in cold environments. We’ve also had plenty of artists attempt to design the foldable iPhone for themselves, including Robby Fester’s that you see at the top of this page.

There are no indications that the iPhone 12 will be a foldable phone. But it will likely offer 5G connectivity, a new time-of-flight sensor for augmented reality, a 120Hz display and other enhancements. 

Richard Priday
Assistant Phones Editor

Richard is based in London, covering news, reviews and how-tos for phones, tablets, gaming, and whatever else people need advice on. Following on from his MA in Magazine Journalism at the University of Sheffield, he's also written for WIRED U.K., The Register and Creative Bloq. When not at work, he's likely thinking about how to brew the perfect cup of specialty coffee.