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Apple Store / Apple news / Apple is working on a Fold iPhone
28 April 2021

Apple is working on a Fold iPhone

There are rumors that the iPhone will change its usual shape. The new iPhone will be folded horizontally, have a protective screen and will be equipped with two hinged displays.

Irina Rychkova

The first sophisticated smartphones

The wave of sophisticated smartphones began in 2019. The first smartphones with folding screens were the Samsung Galaxy Fold and Galaxy Flip Z. Both smartphones have a complex design and can be easily converted from one shape to another. The Galaxy Fold decomposes from a 4.6-inch smartphone into a 7.3-inch tablet, while the Galaxy Z Flip is a 6.7-inch smartphone that instead folds twice to be more portable. Nowadays, sophisticated smartphones are a trend, although the technology still has some problems. Motorola and Huawei have also released sophisticated smartphones of a similar design.

Rumors of a sophisticated iPhone

Fold iPhone

The first mention of the sophisticated iPhone appeared in 2016, when there were rumors that the LG display will mass-produce sophisticated displays for companies such as Apple and Google. LG has developed prototypes of complex displays from flexible OLED panels that could fold like a book and curl like a newspaper. Corning is a supplier of folding glass to Apple, their glass is quite promising for the development of future iPhones. It is rumored that together with Corning, LG Display will take part in the development of the display panel for the complex "iPhone".

Apple analyst Ming-Chi Kuo has officially stated that the development of a sophisticated smartphone has not yet begun. However, by the end of 2023 it is planned to release a 7.5-8-inch smartphone with a flexible OLED display. Provided that the issue of mass supply is resolved, the development technology will be completed.

That is, work on the "iPhone" with a complex display has already begun, but the company has not yet committed to release the device. Apple labs still do not have a completed prototype of the new iPhone, development has not expanded beyond the display.

The company adheres to the basic idea of ​​creating a large display that, with the help of technology, will fit freely in your pocket. Screen sizes in the 8-inch range are considered, such as a 6.7-inch display similar to the iPhone 12 Pro Max.

Lecker John Prosser said that Apple's technology will be different from Samsung Galaxy Fold. The phone's display will not have a solid display, but two separate hinged displays. The sophisticated "iPhone" will have round stainless steel edges, as in the iPhone 11, no cutout, but Apple has added a "tiny forehead" on which is the Face ID. Although the phone will have two parts, but will look compact and inseparable. Various prototypes are currently being tested, but it is unknown what will happen in the end.

Prototypes of a complex iPhone

iPhone becomes flexible and fold

It is rumored that Apple tested two different complex designs of the iPhone, which developed at the Chinese plant Foxconn in Shenzhen. The first model - with two different screens hinged, and the second - a complex Phone with a layout design like the Galaxy Z Flip.

The test devices themselves have been described as not fully functional smartphones, only as shells with limited internal elements. Because of this, it is unclear whether he will be able to enter the market.

The fact that Apple has several patented phones is not a prediction that folding iPhones will appear on the market at all. The company patents all types of devices, even if they never become finished products.

The first patent for the sophisticated iPhone in 2016 was a smartphone that folded in half horizontally using a flexible OLED display and a hinged metal support structure. The drawing shows that both halves of the display remain accessible when the phone is switched off.

Flexible folding iPhone screen

The patent application for 2019 describes the solution of one of the main problems of a complex phone - the failure to bend at low temperatures. To overcome the problem, the smartphone has a built-in heating element.

To improve the hinge mechanism, in February 2020, Apple received a patent for a device that uses movable valves to prevent wrinkling or damage to the display during assembly.

The purpose of the hinge mechanism is to ensure adequate separation between the two parts of the display. When the device is unfolded, the movable sash expands to close the gap, and then retracted when the device is folded.

The patent, issued in March, describes a unique alternative to the sophisticated iPhone. It explains a system that would allow two or more devices to act as one when approaching each other using proximity sensors.

The patent provides for separate devices that detect each other automatically when placed together with a common display. This means that Apple could develop a single flexible device consisting of two displays in constant communication.

The 2020 patent application provides for the study of a protective layer that would resist cracking at the fold of the screen. The smartphone would be covered with a hard layer that would fill existing microcracks to prevent the appearance of even more cracks. An additional layer would be placed directly on the display to resist cracks and scratches.

When will Apple release a sophisticated iPhone?

An analyst at Bank of America Merrill Lynch predicted in 2018 that the company would release a sophisticated smartphone. At the moment, there is no specific evidence that a new iPhone will be released. Chinese supply chain from 2020, reported that the desired year of release - 2022.

What will Apple's folding iPhone look like?

New look of iPhone

Specific information about the design and shape is also unknown. As examples, we see smartphones from Samsung and Huawei, which have the ability to bend both outward and inward. Apple's patents present the device, although not as wide as the Huawei and Samsung smartphones, but also folded horizontally.

Sophisticated iPhone concept

Until the development of the smartphone continues, it is impossible to say for sure, the only reliable information is that it will be equipped with two hinged displays.

What is the competition?

The main competitor is Samsung's Galaxy Fold, a $1980 smartphone that folds in half thanks to a hidden hinge in the middle. Samsung also has many other models of sophisticated phones, it seems that the company does not plan to abandon the trend.

Also, Huawei has released the Mate X smartphone for $2600. Unlike the Galaxy Fold, the Mate X folds outwards rather than inwards, which accordingly provides it with a display on both sides when it is closed. Mate X has 6.6 inches in smartphone mode, increases to 8 inches when unfolded.

Problems with sophisticated smartphones

Regardless of the company, all smartphones face similar problems. Galaxy Fold's debut was postponed due to the fact that the screen broke a few days after use. Although Samsung later solved this problem by making the phone stronger, there were still complaints about the quality of the display. At low temperatures, the screen cracked. In Motorola's RAZR, the screen broke in the middle after a week of use.

With that in mind, Apple may be planning to wait until the technology is more sophisticated before deciding to release its own sophisticated iPhone.

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