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Galaxy Z Flip 6 might have the innovation Apple needs to make a foldable iPhone

Published May 29th, 2024 10:56AM EDT
Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 5 Display
Image: Christian de Looper for BGR

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About a week ago, I looked at a Galaxy Z Fold 6 display rumor and realized how important it might be for the foldable iPhone that Apple is supposedly working on. A leaker said the new Samsung phone will have a foldable display with a less visible crease than before. That’s a key Apple requirement from display suppliers.

Soon after, reports emerged that Apple and LG are developing a crease-free screen that might be used in a foldable MacBook as soon as 2026. It should surprise no one that Apple won’t release any foldable until the crease is almost invisible when folded flat.

But how will screenmakers eliminate the crease? If a report from Korea is accurate, Samsung might increase the thickness of the Ultra Thin Glass (UTG) panel that covers the foldable OLED screen — and the Galaxy Z Flip 6 might be the first phone with a thicker UTG cover.

Korean news outlet The Elec had the scoop a few days ago, right around the time leaker Ice Universe said the Galaxy Z Fold 6 would have a less visible crease. It’s unclear if the two reports are connected, but I’d guess that Samsung plans to use the same tech on both foldables.

The Elec says Samsung will increase the UTG thickness from 30 to 50 micrometers. The immediate benefit is better durability. The thicker glass should also be more durable and less prone to breaking.

Needless to say, the increase in thickness is only welcome if it doesn’t impact the handset’s lifespan. Foldable displays in Galaxy Z Fold and Flip models need to fold and unfold up to 200,000 times. Hopefully, the thicker glass will be just as durable as the previous UTG version. Then again, Samsung wouldn’t increase the thickness if it can’t pass its durability tests.

Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 5 Display
Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 5 Display: Check out that crease. Image source: Christian de Looper for BGR

The report also notes that Samsung introduced the water-drop hinge with the Fold 5 and Flip 5 models last year to decrease the crease visibility. The Flip 6 will use the same hinge tech combined with the new UTG panel.

Samsung might change the hinge design again next year to further reduce the crease. The outlet’s sources also said that UTG might see further thickness increases next year. This would require a new hinge design. Plans for the Flip 7 are not yet final.

Again, I’d assume that any foldable screen technology that makes its way into Flip phones would also be used on Fold-type devices.

The Elec also mentioned the foldable iPhone in the report, saying what I’ve been telling you all along. Apple has asked Samsung and LG to develop technology that will remove the crease completely. Samsung Display hinted as much in previous years without naming Apple as a potential customer.

While Samsung loves to brag about being the top seller of foldable phones and routinely bashes Apple for not having a foldable iPhone, Samsung is probably dying to sell Apple foldable displays for all sorts of devices, including a foldable iPhone. Foldable phones will go mainstream in earnest only when Apple enters this niche.

If the UTG upgrade is accurate, Samsung will probably mention it during its upcoming Galaxy Z Fold 6 and Flip 6 launch event. Rumors say Samsung will unveil the new foldables in mid-July.

Chris Smith Senior Writer

Chris Smith has been covering consumer electronics ever since the iPhone revolutionized the industry in 2008. When he’s not writing about the most recent tech news for BGR, he brings his entertainment expertise to Marvel’s Cinematic Universe and other blockbuster franchises.

Outside of work, you’ll catch him streaming almost every new movie and TV show release as soon as it's available.