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Apple’s foldable iPhone is reportedly at the risk of being canceled

Published Mar 28th, 2024 7:34AM EDT
Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 5
Image: José Adorno for BGR

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After several reports on a foldable iPhone, its future is still uncertain, especially since Apple canceled its car and microLED projects; it seems folding an iPhone could also walk in the same direction. According to Alpha Biz (via DigiTimes), Apple could postpone the release of this device for the first quarter of 2027 or ultimately end this project if the technology doesn’t meet its quality standard.

At this moment, the delay from the fourth quarter of 2026 to the first quarter of 2027 doesn’t scare this iPhone manufacturer. Still, some analysts believe Apple may abandon the foldable iPhone project “due to panel technology not being mature enough.”

Apple has reportedly put staff who previously worked on the Vision Pro for the foldable division. Over the past months, BGR heard reports about a foldable iPad, foldable Mac, and foldable iPhone, although it’s unclear if any of these projects could see the light of day.

Currently, it is rumored that Apple will be discussing supply orders with LG Display and Samsung Display. The report says, “Apple has high requirements for panel specifications, including a thickness that’s half of the current iPhones’ and a folding crease that can hopefully be completely smooth.”

Apple Music on Android new features
Foldable iPhone could look a lot like Galaxy Z Flip Image source: José Adorno for BGR

Also, the Korean outlet The Elec and American publication The Information recently shared details about this foldable iPhone.

According to them, Apple is planning a Galaxy Z Flip-like foldable iPhone that needs to be as thin as current iPhone models. Just a reminder, the iPhone 15 Pro is 8.25mm thicker, so Apple would be aiming at an iPhone Flip that is as thick as the original 2007 model, which had 11.6mm of thickness.

The report believes Apple started this project around 2020, but it might need a few more years until it’s completed. More interestingly, Korean outlet The Elec has recently learned that Apple is considering a 2026 or 2027 release date for a foldable device about the same size as the iPad mini.

The report doesn’t call it a phone. Previous rumors said that Apple’s first foldable device might be a tablet rather than an iPhone. 

Foldable iPhone leak points to a 20th-anniversary celebration

The Elec points out that 2027 would mark the 20th anniversary of the iPhone and the 10th anniversary of the first iPhone with an OLED panel. The latter isn’t really a cause for celebration. The 2017 iPhone X had to be different because Apple celebrated the handset’s 10th anniversary. And the OLED screen allowed Apple to make an all-screen display in addition to the TrueDepth system.

However, making a foldable iPhone in 2027 to mark the iPhone’s 20th anniversary would be a big deal. Thanks to this Information report, I now think this could be Apple’s ultimate goal by once again reshaping how we use and interact with our iPhones by introducing a foldable variant.

José Adorno Tech News Reporter

José is a Tech News Reporter at BGR. He has previously covered Apple and iPhone news for 9to5Mac, and was a producer and web editor for Latin America broadcaster TV Globo. He is based out of Brazil.