The latest rumors about Apple’s foldable iPhone efforts are sketchy, but exciting nonetheless

In a matter of days, we saw not one but a couple of reports detailing Apple’s purported plans for foldable iPhones. That includes a story from a reliable source of Apple rumors. The Information has learned that Apple is working on a couple of foldable iPhone prototypes. These are phones with designs similar to Samsung’s Galaxy Z Flip handsets. 

I bring those reports up because a sketchy rumor about Apple’s foldable iPhones just made its way online from China. A source with no established track record but a big following on Weibo claims that Apple has paused foldable iPhone development. Apparently, the reason behind the pause concerns the durability of these foldable phones.

That’s also the exciting part for this longtime iPhone user who is also a fan of foldable devices. I’m waiting for Apple to “fix” foldable displays. That’s why the rumor is so exciting.

The rumor

Picked up by MacRumors, the Weibo rumor says that Apple has been testing foldable phones from the competition as it’s working on its own devices. At least one of those is a Samsung foldable. 

Tech. Entertainment. Science. Your inbox.

Sign up for the most interesting tech & entertainment news out there.

By signing up, I agree to the Terms of Use and have reviewed the Privacy Notice.

That part shouldn’t be surprising. Samsung is the main foldable phone vendor and a key player in the foldable display market. Samsung is responsible for some of the big innovations in the space, including the Ultra Thin Glass (UTG) panel that covers foldable OLED displays in its products. 

Moreover, rumors say that Samsung and LG have been working on foldable displays for Apple products for years. 

Galaxy Z Fold 5 and Flip 5 foldable smartphones.Samsung launched the Galaxy Z Fold 5 and Flip 5 foldable smartphones in July 2023. Image source: Samsung

Back to the rumor, Fixed Focus Digital claims that the foldable screens broke down after a few days of rigorous Apple testing. That’s reportedly the reason why the iPhone development is paused. 

It’s unclear where the source’s info comes from, but there’s no reason to panic. According to The Information’s report, Apple has been developing foldable iPhones for some five years.

Reports from Korea claim Apple is eying a foldable iPhone release for 2026 or 2027. The latter sounds likelier. It’s the iPhone’s 20th anniversary, and Apple might want to introduce a more daring redesign. Foldables are probably the only way to go. 

Apple’s foldable display problems

Samsung has improved the durability of its foldables significantly in recent years, but foldable displays can break much faster than traditional ones. Also, Samsung didn’t remove the gap between the two sides of the display until last year. Moreover, its foldables were thicker than alternatives.

It’s meaningful competition that forced Samsung to deliver bigger design changes last year. The Fold 5 is thinner and has no display gap. The upcoming Galaxy Z Fold 6 should be even thinner than before.

Then there’s the crease. Neither Samsung nor its competitors have been able to eliminate the visible display crease that appears where the hinge sits. It’s a design compromise most users can accept. But I don’t think Apple would.

Motorola Razr Plus foldable phone.The 2023 Motorola Razr Plus foldable phone features a clamshell design. Image source: Jonathan S. Geller

A report from Korea last summer said that Samsung and LG are not working with Apple just on a foldable iPhone. Apple is also looking at foldable devices that would feature 20-inch displays.

The crease was specifically addressed during a SID event. Samsung Display managing director Seung-in Baek detailed the company’s screen innovations, saying that Samsung has been working on fixing the crease for years.

In this context, the exec implied that unnamed companies are looking at transforming laptops into foldable tablets. He didn’t name Apple. But foldable iPhone rumors frequently say that Apple might make foldable tablets/laptops before the smartphone. 

How Apple will fix foldable displays

If you’ve been following Apple for as long as I have, you know the company isn’t afraid to take its time. Larger screens, 4G, 5G — Apple is rarely first on the scene. Generative AI will be the rare exception where Apple won’t say it waited to get that particular technology right. 

Back to the foldable iPhone rumor, I’m expecting Apple to launch foldable iPhones when the technology feels right, even if it happens a decade after Samsung’s first Fold. The technology was clearly not ready when Samsung launched that phone.

Honor Magic V2 FlatThe Honor Magic V2 is the thinnest foldable in the world. Image source: Christian de Looper for BGR

Apple might be waiting for better UTG glass that’s harder to break. For foldable panels with no creases in the middle. For thinner batteries that will allow for a slim foldable iPhone rather than a bulky one. 

As sketchy as the rumor might seem, Apple likely hasn’t stopped foldable iPhone development. Instead, it’ll just push suppliers to come up with better designs. If Apple has been working on foldable iPhones for five years, it’s very likely it “paused” development every time it had to send back the screen samples it received for not being good enough.

It’ll take time for suppliers to come up with designs that meet Apple’s requirements.

Will Apple actually “fix” foldable display issues? We’ll have to wait. Make no mistake, Samsung might be mocking Apple publicly for not having a foldable iPhone, but it’s probably dying to meet Apple’s expectations and sell as many foldable OLED panels as Samsung needs. Once the foldable iPhone hits the market, demand for foldables should increase across the board.


Shopping Cart
Shopping cart0
There are no products in the cart!
Continue shopping
Scroll to Top