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New leak points to Apple working on a foldable iPhone

Published Sep 10th, 2020 10:10PM EDT
Apple iPhone News
Image: Ron Adar/M10s/MEGA

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  • A new iPhone rumor claims that Apple recently ordered a ‘large number’ of foldable displays from Samsung.
  • There’s no telling if a foldable iPhone will ever be released, but rumor has it that Apple has been working on various prototype designs for quite some time.
  • Foldable smartphones haven’t taken the world by storm, but recent efforts from Samsung suggests there could be a market for such a device.

An interesting leak that appeared on Weibo this week claims that Apple recently ordered a “large number” of foldable displays from Samsung. The displays are said to be samples for various prototype designs, which is to say the report, even if true, doesn’t guarantee that we’ll be seeing a foldable iPhone hit store shelves anytime soon.

Recall that Apple has a penchant for exploring many varying product designs and new products altogether that never see the light of day. As a prime example, you might recall that Apple was toying with the idea of introducing a branded HDTV for years before deciding to abandon the initiative altogether. We saw a similar situation play out more recently amidst rumors Apple was planning to design its own electric car.

Having said that, it’s not outlandish to assume that we’ll see a foldable iPhone at some point in the future, if only because Samsung has seen some success in the area over the last year and a half. Sure, the original Galaxy Fold was nothing short of laughable, but the relatively newer Galaxy Z Flip proved to be an appealing and intriguing device.

What’s more, we’ve seen previous reports pointing to Apple doing some heavy prototyping with foldable iPhone designs. Specifically, noted leaker Jon Prosser back in June said that Apple was working on a foldable iPhone with “two separate display panels on a hinge” and “round, stainless steel edges” similar to the current iPhone 11 design. Prosser added that Apple’s current foldable iPhone prototype doesn’t boast a notch but does include a “tiny forehead” above the display that houses Face ID and an assortment of other sensors.

“The memes are funny,” Prosser said. “But it doesn’t look like they just stuck two phones together. Even though they’re two separate panels, when the displays are extended, it looks fairly continuous and seamless.”

Prosser generally has a solid track record with respect to Apple rumors, so this is one nugget worth paying attention to. It’s also worth noting that Apple has filed a number of patents involving foldable display technologies.

One patent which surfaced this past July illustrates a foldable device that bends in a slightly off-center position.

This design allows a portion of the display to always remain visible and, in turn, allow users to take a quick glance at notifications and other pertinent information.

Yoni Heisler Contributing Writer

Yoni Heisler has been writing about Apple and the tech industry at large with over 15 years of experience. A life long expert Mac user and Apple expert, his writing has appeared in Edible Apple, Network World, MacLife, Macworld UK, and TUAW.

When not analyzing the latest happenings with Apple, Yoni enjoys catching Improv shows in Chicago, playing soccer, and cultivating new TV show addictions.