There’s been a lot of anticipation for Apple’s first foldable iPhone, which some are calling iPhone Flip. A new leak seemingly confirms that Apple will challenge the best foldable phones from Samsung and others. Just don’t expect one in 2021 along with the iPhone 13.
According to a report from Digitimes, Apple isn’t likely to step into the foldables market until 2022. But we do know some details about the foldable OLED displays Apple may use.
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The report from Digitimes suggests that Apple's iPhone Flip will be a truly foldable phone, rather than dual-screen phone like the Surface Duo. The report also concludes that by muscling in on the foldable phone market, Apple is going to increase demand for flexible OLED displays.
While it has reportedly taken delivery of flexible displays made by Samsung, the release of a foldable iPhone will likely see other companies compete in an effort to earn Apple’s business with foldable displays of their own.
That, combined with Samsung’s recent promise to make foldables more accessible, could see the cost of flexible displays go down — and with it the overall cost of foldables. While we wait for an iPhone Flip or other foldable iPhone, Samsung, Motorola and others will be looking to expand the market for foldable phones in 2021.
Samsung reportedly has at least two foldable phones planned for this coming year, including the Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 3 and the Galaxy Z Flip 2. But there's also rumors that Samsung may release more affordable Lite versions of each device.
What to expect from iPhone Flip
We don't know a great deal about the iPhone Flip, primarily due to Apple's secretive nature and its habit of bundling all its reveals together. It hasn't even admitted that its working on a foldable phone, though we can piece together clues from patents and other documents that are available to the public.
Among the patents we've seen include a new kind of flexible glass that incorporates the iPhone 12's ceramic shield. That boosted the strength of the latest iPhone's display, and it would be a welcome addition to the comparatively fragile flexible glass we've seen so far.
Patent illustrations also suggest Apple would be going for a fold out design, much like Samsung's Galaxy Z Fold 2, rather than an exterior display like that on the Huawei Mate X. That would explain why Apple ordered Samsung's flexible displays as well.
As for pricing, we can't say for sure, but we don't expect it to be cheap. Foldable devices are all expensive compared to other flagship devices, and Apple isn't likely to buck that trend. When the cheapest iPhone 12 Pro Max is $1,099, a state of the art foldable iPhone is probably going to cost an awful lot more.
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Tom is the Tom's Guide's UK Phones Editor, tackling the latest smartphone news and vocally expressing his opinions about upcoming features or changes. It's long way from his days as editor of Gizmodo UK, when pretty much everything was on the table. He’s usually found trying to squeeze another giant Lego set onto the shelf, draining very large cups of coffee, or complaining about how terrible his Smart TV is.