When Samsung and Huawei released their first foldable smartphone in 2019, we could be certain that Apple monitored the market responses. With their significant financial and technological resources, Apple undoubtedly already has concepts or even mock-ups of the possible foldable iPhone in their R&D facility. The foldable smartphone has become a niche in the market and Apple will seriously consider an involvement. The company is blessed by powerful brand recognition and despite being a late entrant, its products will always get massive coverage by the press. Here are things we know so far about Apple’s probable foldable smartphone:
The well-known analyst of Apple products, Ming-Chi Kuo predicted that Apple will introduce a foldable iPhone with an 8-inch display next year. Apple is expecting that it will ship up to 20 million of its first foldable model. By being four years late, Apple will benefit from a more mature technology and they can learn from competitors’ past mistakes. It is likely that Apple will grab a major proportion of the market share in the niche rather easily with its first foldable iPhone. It’s a real possibility if Apple directly responds to current issues in the foldable niche.
One of the biggest questions is what the foldable iPhone will look like. Business Korea suggested that Apple has been developing inward-folding and clamshell models to compete with Samsung Galaxy Z directly. We also had reports that Apple has worked with LG Display to develop a type of foldable OLED panel, which can be used for their iPhone. In fact, Apple was granted a patent on a flip phone with a clamshell design in 2019. Unlike typical foldable smartphones in the market, this concept still has some physical buttons.
In a separate report, Ming-Chi Kuo also pointed out that Apple tested a foldable device with a nine-inch OLD display, which could have an iPhone-like appearance when folded. He predicted that the device will be released in 2025. Another Apple patent in 2020 was granted for a protective layer used for foldable displays. This shows that Apple has also explored the possibility of releasing a clamshell smartphone, similar to the Samsung Galaxy Z Flip. Apple is testing foldable displays of different sizes and we still don’t know which one Apple will use.
Although reports about hardware specs of a probable foldable iPhone are still scarce, it will be likely to be equipped with the latest Bionic SoC at the time of its release. If released in 2023, the foldable iPhone could be powered by A16 or A17 Bionic processor. It’s natural for Apple to make its foldable iPhone a new powerhouse that offers one of the best performance levels in the market. The foldable iPhone will definitely need an optimized iOS version with an interface that supports the new design.
It will be a while before Apple officially says anything about its foldable iPhone. But given the recent rumors and leaks, we could be certain that Apple has been working on a foldable device.