According to a source familiar with the matter speaking to The Information, Apple is reportedly exploring the development of a foldable iPhone internally. These devices are described as clamshell-style, similar to Samsung’s Galaxy Z Flip series, rather than devices that transform from phones to tablets like the Galaxy Z Fold or Google’s Pixel Fold.
The report suggests that these foldable iPhones are still in early development stages and could potentially be canceled. If they do come to fruition, it’s unlikely to happen before 2025.
However, there are several design challenges that Apple is reportedly facing in the development of foldable phones. These challenges include issues such as the devices being too thick when folded, susceptibility to damage, higher production costs compared to non-foldable versions, the visibility and tactile feel of the seam in the middle of the display, and concerns regarding the hinge preventing the device from lying flat on a surface. Despite these challenges, Apple’s track record of overcoming obstacles in product development is notable.
The list of challenges mentioned in the report mirrors many of the criticisms leveled against current foldable Android phones, which have faced durability issues and high costs, limiting their market penetration to approximately 1.6% of all smartphone sales, according to recent analyst estimates.
Given that the iPhone’s design has evolved significantly since the introduction of the full-screen design with the iPhone X in 2017, it’s logical that Apple is considering foldable phones as part of its future iPhone lineup. However, the success of foldable iPhones will depend on the company’s ability to address the same issues that have plagued other foldable devices.