A lot has been said about Apple making a foldable iPhone, but they are just rumors at the moment, making it unclear whether the company is making a foldable phone let alone a flip phone. The clamshell-style foldable smartphone doesn't have as many models as the notebook-styled one, with the Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 3, Huawei P50 Pocket, and the 2020 Motorola Razr 5G being the only available options.
The Galaxy Z Flip 3 is the best-selling foldable smartphone and it was able to achieve that partly due to its more affordable price tag compared to the Galaxy Z Fold 3. If Apple is looking to make its first foldable smartphone affordable, then it may want to go with the clamshell design as well, considering it will likely be cheaper to make and more popular among younger users.SCREENRANT VIDEO OF THE DAY
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As it stands, there have been no reports that Apple has a foldable smartphone in its product roadmap for 2022. None of the upcoming iPhone 14 models are understood to feature a foldable screen, even though early information has revealed a design change in general. According to a detail disclosed by Apple analyst, Ming-Chi Kuo, reported by MacRumors, the Cupertino-based company is working on releasing an 8-inch foldable iPhone in 2024. Kuo had previously stated that the phone will be announced in 2023, but now believes that it will be released in 2024 due to some unresolved problems. A December 2021 DSCC report by Ross Young also predicts a possible 2023 release, but the display analyst did also say that it's more likely to happen in 2024.
Based on Kuo's report, if the foldable iPhone is sporting an 8-inch display, it probably has a design similar to that of the Galaxy Z Fold 3, as 8 inches is probably the size of the inner foldable screen and that's too large to be a flip phone which typically folds down into a smaller size. Other reports have revealed that Apple is working on more than one design, however. For example, a Bloomberg report from January 2021 revealed that Apple discussed several foldable screen sizes including one that unfolds into a 6.7-inch screen similar to that of the iPhone 12 Pro Max. With this sort of screen size, it is not far-fetched to assume it could be a clamshell design.
YouTuber and frequent leaker, Jon Prosser, also previously reported on a different foldable iPhone design. Rather than a display that folds, the prototype is said to have two separate displays connected by a hinge, not dissimilar to the Microsoft Surface Duo 2. Prosser added that the displays look "fairly continuous and seamless" in its extended state. Prosser is not the only one to have made this claim. In the same MacRumors report, there was also the suggestion that Apple was testing two different foldable designs at the Foxconn factory in Shenzhen. Again, one of the two iPhone prototypes has two screens connected by a hinge, while the other has a Galaxy Z Flip-like design.
While nothing is certain at this point, the fact that Apple is testing multiple designs suggests the company is possibly following in the footsteps of brands like Samsung and Huawei who offer foldable phones in multiple forms. There is clearly a market for different designs, and it could be unwise for Apple to choose one form over another.
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Sources: MacRumors, Bloomberg, Ross Young/DSCC, Jon Prosser/Twitter