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Apple is reportedly working on a clamshell foldable iPhone to take on the Galaxy Flip

Don't expect it to launch this year or the next, though.

Published onFebruary 7, 2024

iphone 14 pro vs galaxy z flip 4 back
Ryan Haines / Android Authority
  • A new report suggests that Apple has been developing prototypes of at least two clamshell foldable iPhones.
  • The foldable iPhones are in early development and aren’t on the company’s mass production schedule for 2024 or 2025. They could also be canceled if they don’t meet expectations.
  • Apple is also said to be working on a foldable iPad Mini.

Samsung’s Galaxy Z Flip series may not be packing the absolute top-tier specifications, but it has been quite popular with customers, more so than the Galaxy Z Fold series that enthusiasts prefer. This success has definitely not gone unnoticed by competitors, as we have seen many Android competitors come out with their own versions of clamshell foldable. The most high-profile entrant to this list might be Apple, as a report now claims that Apple is developing a foldable clamshell iPhone.

According to a new report from The Information, Apple is building prototypes of at least two iPhones that fold like a clamshell, much like the Galaxy Z Flip. The foldable iPhones are said to be in early development and aren’t on the company’s mass production plans for this year or the next. The product can get canceled if the prototypes don’t meet Apple’s expectations.

The report mentions that Apple has long toyed with the idea of a foldable iPhone. Apple CEO Tim Cook had spoken to engineers and designers at the company about the possibility of a foldable iPhone back in 2018. He also “reacted positively” to a demo of a 7-inch foldable display. However, as we know, Apple still hasn’t released a foldable display product in any format.

iphone 14 pro vs galaxy z flip 4 display and ports
Ryan Haines / Android Authority

Apple’s industrial design team apparently prefers a foldable iPhone whose display faces outside when the phone is shut. They also wanted a foldable iPhone that was half as thin as the current iPhones so that it wouldn’t be too thick when closed. However, an outward-facing display is prone to all sorts of external damage, and limitations on component size, such as battery, make it difficult to make a thin foldable.

In addition to the challenge of making a foldable iPhone, Apple’s designers have also faced difficulties in developing compelling features to sell one. A foldable iPhone is expected to be more expensive than a regular iPhone, and it might not be easy to convince consumers of the use cases of one.

The report further states that Apple paused its work on foldable iPhones in 2020 and turned towards a foldable iPad Mini with a roughly 8-inch screen. A foldable iPad could be thicker and wouldn’t be subject to as stringent of tests as a foldable iPhone. Engineers working on the foldable iPad are said to be trying to eliminate the display crease for a smooth and seamless display experience that works well with an Apple Pencil.

How Apple enters the foldable market remains to be seen. What do you think would be Apple’s first foldable? Let us know in the comments below!

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