Apple Is Preparing to Build Lots of Folding iPhone Prototypes

Foldable Iphone Concept1 Credit: EverythingApplePro
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If you’ve been eagerly waiting for Apple to release a folding iPhone, we can’t say we blame you — some of us are champing at the bit too — and the good news is that it looks like Apple is still very actively working on the idea, with a new report that reveals that it has now ordered a whole array of foldable display samples that will no doubt be used in creating prototypes for what will become the first folding iPhone.

The thing with Apple is that you can be pretty safely convinced that when it finally does build a folding iPhone, it’s going to do it right.

We’ve seen a lot of really cool concepts for folding iPhones over the years, and a lot of ideas for what should go into one, but the truth is that the actual first attempts that showed up from other manufacturers were largely hot messes that only served to justify Apple’s wisdom in waiting it out until it can learn from the mistakes of others and solve many of these first-generation problems.

There’s no doubt that it’s been working hard at doing so, with patent after patent after patent revealing a wealth of different ideas as to how Apple’s magical folding iPhone could overcome the types of problems that have plagued the other contenders thus far.

Trying Folding Displays on for Size

Now a new claim by leaker “Ice Universe” that was shared on Weibo and reported by MacRumors reveals that Samsung will be providing a “large number” of foldable display samples to help Apple in the development of a future iPhone.

Specifically, Apple and Samsung have reportedly signed a deal whereby a variety of foldable displays will be provided for a period of one year, and the leaker seems to suggest that the deal is happening with some urgency.

While Samsung has obviously been on the leading-edge of folding smartphone technology thus far — it’s Galaxy Z Flip has been leading the pack right now — it’s also been shopping its displays around to various other companies, including Apple, to attempt to build a market. It’s therefore almost certain that Apple tried out a couple of initial free samples last year, and this latest report suggests that it has liked what it’s seen enough to start actually building some prototypes with them.

Could 2021 Be The Year?

We already heard several reports last year that suggested Apple could be releasing its first foldable device by late 2020 or early 2021, even if it begins with a 5G folding iPad before it has an iPhone ready. However, while it’s fairly certain at this point that nothing is coming this year in that regard, there’s also no doubt that Apple’s plans have been slowed somewhat by the novel coronavirus pandemic — even Apple’s flagship iPhone 12 is behind schedule, so it’s easy to see how “moonshot” projects like folding devices would have been pushed way onto the rearmost burners.

Back in June, however, we also heard leaks that Apple’s first foldable iPhone might actually incorporate two displays rather than trying to opt for a single flexible display.

While this recent report that Apple is now trying out actual folding displays from Samsung would seem to contradict that, the reality is that Apple is almost certainly exploring multiple options right now, and likely building multiple prototypes to match. There’s a good chance that we could see leaks of dozens of different designs in the next few months before the actual folding iPhone appears.

Still, the pace at which Apple is moving with these sample display orders suggests that we could see the company have its first folding iPhone ready to debut by next year, so you don’t need to go out and change sides to Android just to get something sweet and foldable, and you can rest assured that when Apple does introduce its first folding iPhone, it’s going to be amazing, revolutionary, and worth the wait.

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