iPhone Flip just leaked — and it’s not the foldable phone you expect

(Image credit: #iOS beta news)

Everyone wants to see an iPhone Flip, Apple's first ever attempt at a foldable phone. In case you weren't convinced Apple would try something so radical with its designs, there's a new leak that has helped shed some light.

Regular leaker Jon Prosser waded into a discussion about foldable iPhones, and was persuaded to reveal that Apple is indeed working on such a device. He also divulged a few design details, and it's sounding like Apple's first foldable could be quite different from the likes of the Galaxy Fold

When pressed by another user to reveal if this device would arrive this year, Prosser quickly shut it down.

This isn't surprising to anyone who has been following the iPhone 12 rumor mill. While this year's big iPhone release will be shaking up the design quite a bit, there won't be anything as radical as a folding display according to the leaks. Assuming Apple's fairly far along with its design, we could end up seeing a foldable iPhone 13, or perhaps the year after with the iPhone 14.

Later, Prosser revealed some additional information about the foldable iPhone. Rather than aiming for a single flexible display like the Samsung Galaxy Fold, Apple sounds like it's going after the LG G8X ThinQ school of design. The phone may use two separate displays acting in tandem, with an iPhone 11-style frame and Face ID mounted on the outside to leave the interior displays unblemished.

Anyone who fancies a trip into the archives of the USPTO website can see that Apple has several patents for foldable phones. Some are traditional book or clamshell designs, while others are more outlandish, with one notable example being a 'scroll' that has an unravelling display.

However, Apple is known for being what we'll politely call 'fastidious' with its hardware. Unlike its Android rivals who are much more willing to experiment — see the Galaxy Fold, Galaxy Z Flip and Motorola Razr — Apple tends to stick with a similar design for at least a couple of years at a time. The bottom line is that Apple won't be rushing into the foldables market any time soon, even if it is in the process of making one.

Samsung is the biggest player in the foldable phone field right now. With its Galaxy Fold 2 on the way, Samsung's now in a position to refine its designs and cement its position. But don't count out the amazing brand loyalty Apple is capable of wielding, which could make the iPhone Flip a ubiquitous sight very quickly after launch.

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.