Rumors of an iPhone Flip have been circulating for some time, but if new leaks by supple chain sources in Asia are true, Apple is seriously considering taking on Samsung and Motorola in the foldable phone game.
According to sources at Taiwanese website United Daily News, Apple has commissioned two prototype shells with displays from supplier Foxconn. The two designs use radically different approaches in addressing foldables.
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The first design is something akin to the Samsung Galaxy Z Flip or the Motorola Razr. It's a regular candy bar-style slab that folds in half. The other is more similar to the Microsoft Surface Duo, where two screens are held together by a hinge, closing like a book. It's unsure if Apple is working on two separate foldable products, or is merely testing out various ideas for one final foldable iPhone.
To add more intrigue, Apple might be working on a foldable concept so radical that it really could completely change the foldable conversation. A patent filing that was published on Dec. 31 posits a foldable display that can fold both inward like the Galaxy Z Flip, but also outward like the Huawei Mate Xs. With that much freedom in folding motion, it would be like using a digital spiral notepad.
Couple these rumors with other patents filed by Apple, such as one for a self-healing foldable display, it could suggest that something is seriously coming down the pipeline.
Of course, for Apple fans waiting for a foldable phone, the question is when. According to a report from Digitimes, we won't see a foldable iPhone until 2022 at the earliest.
Remember, these new supply chain leaks do not suggest that something is final from Apple. It's clearly still early days for the concept at Cupertino. Apple might instead want to go with a design similar to the Samsung Galaxy Fold 2, or might move forward with a different strategy entirely. With so much up in the air, it's probably better to trade in your iPhone 8 for an iPhone 12 until then.
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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.