As the iPhone Flip sits on the sidelines, the competition for the best foldable phones is heating up with new releases from various developers. Google has joined the fray, aiming to challenge Samsung’s dominance in the foldable phone market. Meanwhile, companies like Motorola and OnePlus are rumored to be working on their own foldable devices, further intensifying the competition. The stage is set for a crowded market, even before Apple enters the foldable phone arena.
Although things may seem quiet on the iPhone Flip front, there are certainly movements happening behind the scenes. While the focus this year appears to be on the highly anticipated iPhone 15 launch in the fall, industry experts widely believe that Apple will eventually venture into the realm of foldable phones. Apple’s extensive collection of foldable phone patents, coupled with intriguing concept drawings from independent designers, suggest that the tech giant has the potential to make a significant impact with its foldable offering, whether it be named the iPhone Flip or iPhone Fold.
In this iPhone Flip guide, we have compiled the rumors and concept designs available thus far. While the details remain speculative, we eagerly anticipate gaining a clearer picture of what is undoubtedly poised to be the most revolutionary iPhone yet. As the anticipation builds and the market evolves, all eyes are on Apple as enthusiasts and tech aficionados await the moment when the iPhone Flip finally sees the light of day. With Apple’s track record of innovation and design prowess, the future of foldable phones is bound to be reshaped once the iPhone Flip takes its place in the spotlight.
When will be the Launch Date of Apple's iPhone Flip?
The launch date of the iPhone Flip remains a topic of speculation, with conflicting rumors swirling around. Display analyst Ross Young, known for accurate predictions, suggests a 2023 introduction, but acknowledges 2024 as a more likely timeframe. On the other hand, Ming-Chi Kuo’s report hints at a potential 2025 release. Analyst Ben Wood anticipates a foldable iPad before an iPhone Flip. In light of these uncertainties, it is prudent to maintain a skeptical stance. As the tech community eagerly awaits official announcements from Apple, only time will reveal when, or if, the iPhone Flip will become a reality.
iPhone Flip display
According to renowned analyst Ming-Chi Kuo, the first foldable iPhone is rumored to feature a massive 8-inch display, surpassing the Galaxy Z Fold 4’s 7.6-inch screen when unfolded. It would also rival the size of the 8.3-inch iPad mini. Another report suggests that Apple may be collaborating with LG on a 7.5-inch OLED foldable display panel. Furthermore, Kuo has mentioned that Apple is exploring a 9-inch display for their foldable device, which would outsize any existing foldable phone on the market.
Intriguingly, Kuo has also indicated that Apple is considering the use of color e-ink displays for the exterior screen of the foldable phone. While such screens may not be as responsive as LCD or OLED panels, they offer the advantage of reduced power consumption.
Adding to the intrigue, an Apple patent suggests that the iPhone Flip could incorporate a self-preservation feature to protect against damage from drops. The concept revolves around the hinge initiating mid-drop closure, shifting the phone’s balance, and preventing the screen from hitting the ground.
As these reports and patents emerge, they paint an exciting picture of what the future may hold for Apple’s entry into the foldable phone market. However, it’s important to note that these details are speculative, and only time will reveal the true capabilities and features of the much-anticipated iPhone Flip.
iPhone Flip Design
According to Jon Prosser, Apple has explored two different types of iPhone Flip designs: a fold-out book-style hybrid tablet and a clamshell flip phone design. While sources suggest Apple is leaning towards the clamshell design, it’s still early in the development process, and plans could change. Various patent filings provide insights into Apple’s considerations for its foldable devices, including options beyond the clamshell design.
One patent describes a “joint operating mode” where a single-screen device can be supplemented by a magnetically-connected secondary display, allowing independent devices to join and create a shared space. Another patent from 2018 depicts a device with a flexible display that folds closed, leaving a small strip exposed for easy access to notifications and contextual information.
Apple has also explored tri-folding display designs and filed patents for durable foldable displays and screens with textured flexible areas, which could potentially be used in a foldable tablet. Designers have created concept renderings showcasing possible looks for the iPhone Flip/Fold, ranging from Galaxy Z Flip-inspired designs to those incorporating smaller notches, external cover displays, and in-screen Touch ID sensors.
Regarding durability, Apple has explored multiple approaches. A patent from 2020 suggests an upgraded version of the iPhone’s ceramic shield specifically designed for a flexible display, consisting of multiple layers to provide additional strength. There’s speculation about the use of a “self-healing material” layer to minimize the appearance of scratches or dents. Additionally, Apple has filed patents for crack-resistant displays and a design that allows the foldable display to bend in the middle without excessive stress.
Apple has reportedly been in talks with LG and Samsung to supply flexible displays, but there’s also speculation about a dual-panel approach similar to the Microsoft Surface Duo. This design would retain the rounded appearance of the iPhone 11 and seamlessly combine two separate screens when outstretched.
While flexible panels are popular in the industry, Apple’s first foldable phone could take various forms, considering factors like reliability, durability, and cost. The company continues to explore different possibilities and refine its plans, and it remains to be seen which direction Apple will ultimately take with its foldable iPhone.
iPhone Flip: Durability
In October 2020, a patent suggested that the iPhone Flip could feature an upgraded version of the iPhone’s ceramic shield specifically designed for a flexible display. This upgraded shield would consist of four layers: a cover layer, a hardcoat layer, an inner surface, and a transparent support layer. The support layer could potentially be made of glass or sapphire for added strength.
There has been speculation that the display of the iPhone Flip could also include a “self-healing material” layer. This layer would have the ability to minimize the appearance of scratches or dents, allowing the display to “heal” itself.
While there is no guarantee that Apple will release a foldable handset, these patent filings and reports suggest that Apple is exploring various options for its first foldable phone. Flexible panels are popular in the industry, but Apple may consider dual-screen hardware if it is not satisfied with the reliability, durability, or cost of a device with a single folding screen.
In February 2020, an Apple patent emerged that proposed a design allowing the foldable display to bend in the middle without creating excessive stress on the panel. Inside the hinge, the screen would bow out, creating a gradual curve rather than a hard crease. This design aims to enhance durability and extend the life of the display. It’s worth noting that the Galaxy Z Flip also incorporates a similar design concept.
Apple has continued its research in making the iPhone Flip more durable, as evidenced by a continuation patent filing. This patent outlines ways to achieve a crack-resistant display, further emphasizing Apple’s focus on durability for a potential foldable iPhone.
iPhone Flip Price
Determining the price of a potential foldable iPhone is challenging due to the lack of specific rumors and the variability in pricing among existing foldable devices. However, we can make some speculations based on current trends and pricing models.
The price of a foldable iPhone will largely depend on its design and features. If Apple opts for a smaller and more affordable foldable device, the price may not deviate significantly from premium handsets like the iPhone 14 Pro Max, which currently starts at $1,099. This could be the case if Apple chooses a clamshell design similar to the Galaxy Z Flip, targeting a more compact form factor.
On the other hand, if Apple aims to create a foldable iPhone that can transform into a tablet-like device, comparable to the Galaxy Z Fold lineup, the price could potentially surpass that of Apple’s conventional smartphones. Devices like the Galaxy Z Fold 4, which offer larger displays and more advanced features, typically come with a higher price tag. It’s not inconceivable that a foldable iPhone with such capabilities could exceed the $2,000 mark.
Ultimately, the pricing strategy for a foldable iPhone will depend on Apple’s assessment of market demand, production costs, and the perceived value of the device’s features. Until more concrete information becomes available, the exact price of an iPhone Flip remains uncertain.
iPhone Flip: The competition
Indeed, if Apple’s iPhone Flip is not released until next year, it will arrive after its competitors have already established their presence in the foldable phone market. Samsung, for example, is already on its fourth iteration of the Galaxy Z Fold and has introduced new versions of the Galaxy Z Flip as well. The upcoming Galaxy Z Fold 5 and Galaxy Z Flip 5 are expected to launch later this year.
Google is also entering the foldable phone market with the Pixel Fold, which competes directly with the Galaxy Z Fold 4 and carries a similar price tag of $1,799. The Pixel Fold features a 7.6-inch screen and is powered by Google’s Tensor G2 chipset. Early impressions of the Pixel Fold have been generally positive, though some aspects still need improvement.
Motorola is rumored to be releasing a new version of its Razr flip phone, potentially called the Motorola Razr 40 Ultra, which aligns with the rumored design of the iPhone Flip. Unlike previous versions, this Razr model could be available in the United States. Additionally, OnePlus is reportedly working on its own foldable device, the OnePlus V Fold, set to debut in the second half of 2023.
While the success of foldable phones is still being determined, Apple has a track record of entering markets after addressing the shortcomings of existing products. The company has often launched products like the iPod, iPhone, and iPad when it believes it has perfected the user experience. It is possible that Apple will take a similar approach with the iPhone Flip, ensuring it offers a compelling and refined foldable phone experience to stand out from the competition.
iPhone Flip outlook
Apple’s entry into the foldable phone market will undoubtedly have a significant impact on the industry as a whole. While Samsung was the first to introduce foldable phones with the Galaxy Fold, they are still exploring different form factors and refining their designs based on consumer feedback.
Apple has a history of driving major changes in the mobile market with each new iPhone release. The removal of the headphone jack, the transition to bezel-less displays with the introduction of the notch, and the popularization of 5G with the iPhone 12 are all examples of how Apple’s decisions shape industry trends and consumer expectations.
The success and innovation of Apple’s foldable iPhone could pave the way for wider adoption of foldable technology in the smartphone industry. Apple has a large and dedicated user base, and its approach to foldable phones will likely influence the design choices and features adopted by other manufacturers.
As consumers, industry analysts, and competitors eagerly await Apple’s foldable iPhone, there is a sense that the future of foldable technology and the entire smartphone industry could be shaped by Apple’s entry into this space.