Foldable iPhone Flip could launch in late 2026 — alongside iPhone 18

iPhone Flip renders against beige background.
(Image credit: #iOS Beta News / Tom's Guide)

There have been a bunch of rumors about the foldable iPhone Flip in recent weeks, including one that claimed development may be delayed due to problems with the foldable screen. With that in mind, it’s no surprise to hear that the phone may not launch until late 2026.

According to Korean news site Alpha Economy, Apple has decided on releasing the iPhone Flip in September 2026 alongside the iPhone 18. That means we’ll be waiting another two and a half years for the phone to arrive, at which point we’ll have just seen the launch of the Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 8.

The site also claims that Apple expects to sell 50 million foldable units, which is pretty spectacular considering 2022 only saw 13.1 million foldable phone shipments. But if Apple can convince people to spend $3,500 on a mixed reality headset without returning it, then it shouldn’t have too much trouble selling a large number of folding phones.

It’s also claimed that Apple will be transferring “a significant number” of employees that have been working on the Apple Vision Pro onto the foldable phone project. Which suggests Apple may want to get the ball rolling on this long gestating project. 

Whether the iPhone Flip will actually arrive in 2026 is another matter entirely. There have been countless rumors about the phone over the past several years, and so far there’s nothing to show for it. Not to mention the fact we’ve also heard rumors about a possible 2027 launch, which could coincide with the 20th anniversary of the first iPhone, 

Similar rumors about possible issues with the folding screens don’t bode well for the iPhone Flip. That’s the key feature for a device like this, and screwing up the screen could have disastrous consequences. Just ask Samsung about what happened after its first attempt to launch the original Galaxy Fold’s in spring 2019.

And knowing Apple, it’s not likely to release a foldable phone until the design is more or less perfect. So whenever the iPhone Flip does arrive, I expect Apple will have done everything it can to make the phone thin, with a minimal display crease and ensuring that there are no gaps in the design — especially when the phone is folded shut. iPhone users expect the best, and ugly design is contrary to why so many people buy iPhones in the first place.

In any case, while we wait for Apple’s first foldable to arrive, be sure to check out our iPhone Flip hub for all the latest news and rumors as we hear them.

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Tom Pritchard
UK Phones Editor

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.