Foldable iPhone just leaked — and it could be an 8-inch beast

iPhone Flip Concept
(Image credit: EverythingApplePro)

Analyst Ming-Chi Kuo can't stop talking about iPhones these days. After detailing new iPhone 13 features like a smaller notch and bigger batteries and predicting a 2022 launch for a 5G iPhone SE, the well-connected Apple observer is now turning his attention to the iPhone Flip.

The iPhone Flip is the rumored foldable phone that everyone assumes Apple is working on but no one knows when it might appear. Kuo, in a research note spotted by 9to5Mac, is throwing his two cents in on a foldable iPhone, and if he's right, we're in for quite a wait.

Kuo doesn't expect to see a foldable iPhone before 2023. And even then, it's no certainty that the foldable will be shipping. In his note, Kuo says that Apple will have to "solve the foldable mobile device’s key technology" and make progress on bringing a 7.5- to 8-inch foldable device to mass production if it has any hope of delivering such a phone two years from now.

Kuo's forecast isn't out of line with what other people have said about the iPhone Flip. Bloomberg reported back in January that Apple was testing a prototype of a foldable phone, but had no concrete plans on shipping the device. Digitimes has been more aggressive, reporting that Apple may have a foldable ready by 2022.

Apple is reportedly eyeing two possible designs for the iPhone Flip — either a phone that opens up to reveal a tablet-sized screen, not unlike Samsung's Galaxy Z Fold devices, and a clamshell-style handset with a screen that flips open. If Kuo's timeline is accurate, it could be some time before we see which option Apple picks — if the iPhone Flip even surfaces at all.

It could be a big year for iPhones all around in 2023 based on Kuo's report. In addition to a foldable iPhone, he's also suggested the possibility that we could see a truly full-screen iPhone in 2023, with no notch and no cut-outs for front-facing cameras. Kuo expects the notch on the iPhone 13 to shrink this year, with the 2022 model turning to a punch-hole cutout in its display to house the front camera.

Philip Michaels

Philip Michaels is a Managing Editor at Tom's Guide. He's been covering personal technology since 1999 and was in the building when Steve Jobs showed off the iPhone for the first time. He's been evaluating smartphones since that first iPhone debuted in 2007, and he's been following phone carriers and smartphone plans since 2015. He has strong opinions about Apple, the Oakland Athletics, old movies and proper butchery techniques. Follow him at @PhilipMichaels.