It sounds like Apple has commissioned LG Display to design the screen for the foldable iPhone Flip, according to a new report from Digitimes (opens in new tab). Production is moving along, which is good, but this suggests it’s not quite as far along as we would like.
If the iPhone Flip display really is still in the design stages, it means there’s a heck of a lot of work still to be done. So the iPhone Flip isn’t likely to be launching as early as some have hoped.
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Previously we’d heard news that Apple had finished testing two different kinds of foldable smartphone displays: one with a Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 2-inspired tablet display, and another with a Galaxy Z Flip flip phone-esque clamshell screen. That’s still very early on in the iPhone Flip’s development cycle, but it meant the phone had passed one major milestone.
But if Apple is only just commissioning a screen design, then that’s clearly not the case. There’s no telling how long it will take LG to design the screen, at which point it will have to go through various stages of testing, prototyping and patenting. Then that process will need to be repeated with the phone itself.
It also means that any rumors or leaks about the specifics of the screen can’t be fully trusted. After all, if it hasn’t been designed yet there’s no way anyone could actually know any finalized details.
We had previously heard that the iPhone Flip may arrive sometime in 2022, though recent reports claim it won’t be launching until 2023. Sadly, this new report seems to confirm 2022 will not be the year of the foldable iPhone. Depending on how far along LG has got with the design process, even a 2023 launch might be too optimistic.
We still don’t know much about the iPhone Flip beyond rumors and speculation, only that Apple is developing a folding phone. And it's not clear whether the masses really want a foldable pone. Plus, we’ve already seen some companies, including LG and Samsung, take an interest in rollable phones.
Considering rollable screens can offer expanding screens without the risk of breakage or creasing, you can see why they might be more appealing than the foldables we’ve seen already.
Of course, foldable phones have their own advantages, especially with the compact nature of the clamshell design. If anyone can emphasize those for the mass market, it’s Apple.
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