Apple reportedly working on foldable iPhone — here’s what we know

Foldable iPhone leaks
(Image credit: #iOS Beta News/YouTube)

Apple is reportedly testing out a foldable iPhone Flip prototype, charting a course towards the next battle against Samsung. 

Bloomberg reports that Apple has begun early testing  on an iPhone with a foldable display, though it does not have concrete plans to launch such a device just yet. At the moment, Apple is currently only testing out 6.7-inch displays, and hasn't created a full foldable iPhone prototype. This is according to a source within Apple that has asked not to be named.

These aren't the first rumors we've heard of Apple working on a foldable iPhone. Earlier this month, Taiwanese website United Daily News reported that Apple had commissioned prototype foldable shells from Chinese manufacturer Foxconn. 

At the moment, it's uncertain what kind of foldable Apple has in the works. Would it fold vertically like the Motorola Razr 5G or horizontally like the Galaxy Z Fold 2?

According to Bloomberg's source, the current prototype has visible hinges, like the Microsoft Surface Duo

Ultimately, it's unknown if or when Apple would launch a supposed iPhone Flip. Apple seldom is first to jump on the latest tech trend, instead waiting for other manufacturers to test out ideas in the market before plucking the ideas that work best. 

The Covid-19 pandemic has also hindered development at Apple. In California, engineers can only meet a few times a week in limited numbers as to prevent the spread of the virus. Development has been offloaded to Apple's engineers in China. That also means there's virtually zero chance that a foldable iPhone would launch in 2021. 

There are rumors circulating around the update to this year's iPhone, however. At the moment, rumors are pointing to it being called the iPhone 13. It's expected to have a smaller notch and a 120Hz display. It might also be portless, an idea that flies in the face of all convention. But Apple and convention seldom go hand in hand.

Be sure to bookmark our constantly updating iPhone Flip rumor roundup for the latest information. 

Imad Khan

Imad is currently Senior Google and Internet Culture reporter for CNET, but until recently was News Editor at Tom's Guide. Hailing from Texas, Imad started his journalism career in 2013 and has amassed bylines with the New York Times, the Washington Post, ESPN, Wired and Men's Health Magazine, among others. Outside of work, you can find him sitting blankly in front of a Word document trying desperately to write the first pages of a new book.

  • sgodsell
    "However, if the foldable iPhone is intended as a phone that can become a tablet when needed, like the Galaxy Fold, it's certainly possible the price could well exceed those of Apple's more conventional smartphones."

    That won't be happening anytime soon with iOS, especially since Apple still encourages its developers to make separate iPhone and iPad apps. Plus continuity wouldn't work when switching from an iPhone to an iPad on the same i-device that folds like that. Besides today you would have to load both versions of the same app on the one device. I will go out of my way and say as a developer you will NOT see a device like that from Apple, if ever, unless Apple does a complete revamp on its app ecosystem. Now Apple could have a foldable that stays as an iPhone with only iPhone apps, like the Moto Razr or Galaxy Flip. But I will put that guarantee on that you will NOT see a Samsung Galaxy Z Fold, or Mate X Fold type devices for a very long time. Those devices work because Android and Google encourage their developers to make one app that works as both a smartphone app, and a tablet app.