Apple's first foldable screen probably won't be on the iPhone

Posted:
in Future Apple Hardware edited February 22

A new supply chain report denies that Apple has abandoned folding devices, and instead it claims that the company is working on a foldable iPad or MacBook with a folding screen for 2025 or later.

OLED will be at the core of a folding iPad
OLED will be at the core of a folding iPad



There have been rumors of an iPhone Fold since at least when Samsung began releasing its foldable range. Yet recently there has been a spate of new, if contradictory, rumors saying Apple has two prototypes, might make a folding iPad instead, or has abandoned the whole idea.

Now Digitimes claims to have information from the supply chain. According to the report, various elements of a design are coming together, and the device will not be an iPhone.

It's not clear what stage the design is at, but the implication is that it's nearing completion. The report says that planning is underway for the mass production of the device.

Similarly, reporting that this device will not be an iPhone, says that it will be an iPad or a MacBook Pro. This doesn't necessarily mean that the rumor of two iPhone fold prototypes is false, but Digitimes does say that work has not been abandoned or disbanded.

Digitimes has a strong reputation for its supply chain sources -- but a considerably poorer one for the conclusions it draws about Apple's plans or schedules. In this case, it's saying a folding device will not appear before 2025 at the earliest.

That fits with a December 2023 report which in part also said that Samsung had reorganized a business group to better service Apple's demands for foldable screens.

Rumor Score: Possible

Read on AppleInsider

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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 32
    danoxdanox Posts: 2,840member
    Why? Waste of time in light of the Apple Vision....Continuing research on folding/bending screens yes actually releasing a product no.
    edited February 22 PauloSeraaiOS_Guy80dewme
  • Reply 2 of 32
    y2any2an Posts: 187member
    Funny how everyone wants to pin this to an existing product line. I think it’s equally likely Apple has something new and more innovative in mind. What? I have no idea. That’s why it would be innovative. 
    Afarstardewme
  • Reply 3 of 32
    Apple of the 2000s and 2010s I would say no chance would they chase this worthless fad all the way to a production product. But the current Apple under this leadership? The Apple that thinks Vision Pro is shippable product. Anything is possible. 
    williamlondon9secondkox2
  • Reply 4 of 32
    hmurchisonhmurchison Posts: 12,423member
    I feel like this movement towards foldable devices is something that Steve Jobs would have canned early. 

    I agree with @danox ;

    Why muddy the focus?    iPhone's for pocketable devices,   iPads for portable iOS devices,  Macbooks for portable Mac OS based product and Vision for next generation computing.  

    Remember if it doesn't make sense to the point where the path to success doesn't seem clear and reasonable them Apple is likely not doing it. 

    Hey ...according to the Press that Apple Car is due next year right? 
    williamlondon
  • Reply 5 of 32
    An foldable ipad makes more sense because their ipad sales are tanking. 
    They need a growth.

    A fordable iPhone would make Apple be more dependent on iPhones.
    williamlondon
  • Reply 6 of 32
    I'm thinking more of a foldable Apple car.
    y2an said:
    Funny how everyone wants to pin this to an existing product line. I think it’s equally likely Apple has something new and more innovative in mind. What? I have no idea. That’s why it would be innovative. 

    williamlondon
  • Reply 7 of 32
    bluefire1bluefire1 Posts: 1,302member
    Anyone who ever owed a Motorola Razr would understand why the idea of a foldable iPhone is so exciting.
    williamlondonOfer9secondkox2
  • Reply 8 of 32
    They can't risk their bread and butter revenue and reputation from iPhones on a folding device imho - risk of customer adoption, failure rates, cost, etc.

    Makes total sense to take a low volume, low revenue product like the iPad mini and rerelease it as a folding iPad, roughly phone sized when folded, to gauge demand, understand the failure rates and modalities, etc. If it's a killer product, people who don't typically buy iPad Minis will start adoption them.

    Personally, I don't want a folding phone, at least anytime soon, and would find it frustrating to see iPhone adopt this form factor.
    edited February 22
  • Reply 9 of 32
    schlack said:
    They can't risk their bread and butter revenue and reputation from iPhones on a folding device imho - risk of customer adoption, failure rates, cost, etc.

    Makes total sense to take a low volume, low revenue product like the iPad mini and rerelease it as a folding iPad, roughly phone sized when folded, to gauge demand, understand the failure rates and modalities, etc. If it's a killer product, people who don't typically buy iPad Minis will start adoption them.

    Personally, I don't want a folding phone, at least anytime soon, and would find it frustrating to see iPhone adopt this form factor.
    I have zero interest in a folding iPad.  It really gains nothing by folding. Folding doesn't make it small enough to put anywhere it wouldn't already be able to go.

    But, a folding phone would make sense. Make it be able to fold so it fits in my pocket, but can fold open to a larger screen size.  I don't want one of the huge phones available now, but if it folded in half, well, now that's exciting.

    There are other foldables on the market today.  Unfortunately, I haven't met anyone yet that has gotten theirs to last a significant period of time.  If you get one, take advantage of the trade in every year program for sure!!
    Oferdewmemuthuk_vanalingam
  • Reply 10 of 32
    omasouomasou Posts: 572member
    What's the benefit to me?

    It will take up the same volume and weigh the same amount and I'll have to continually worry that the screen will fail.

    Thinking about this reminds me of void pixel days and having to have x amount before Apple would replace a MacBook screen.
    williamlondon9secondkox2
  • Reply 11 of 32
    entropysentropys Posts: 4,162member
    y2an said:
    Funny how everyone wants to pin this to an existing product line. I think it’s equally likely Apple has something new and more innovative in mind. What? I have no idea. That’s why it would be innovative. 
    Not a bad thought, think different.  But it has to be something with a screen which limits options.
    bluefire1 said:
    Anyone who ever owed a Motorola Razr would understand why the idea of a foldable iPhone is so exciting.
    I had a Razer. That form factor had a physical keyboard and a key purpose of folding was to protect the keyboard and the minuscule and fragile plastic screen, while also making it smaller length wise.  The purpose of a modern foldable phone with a glass screen would be to reduce footprint when not in use, while doing so sacrifices thinness.

    So it then ends up fatter, which sucks big time going into a jeans pocket, OK in an handbag.  The only fold I have seen in the wild  was kept in a handbag.  I suppose on something like an iPad, the fatter problem is not so important.
    9secondkox2dewme
  • Reply 12 of 32
    danox said:
    Why? Waste of time in light of the Apple Vision....Continuing research on folding/bending screens yes actually releasing a product no.
    Because Apple Vision is a niche product. It’s not for everyone. 

    Computers, Phones and tablets are. 

    Honestly I don’t see a case for this as a phone. 

    I don’t think foldable screens are anything but niche either. However, I think there may be a tablet use case - as tablets are a little unwieldy, but helpful to use. A huge iPad Pro would make a great vehicle for touchscreen lighting, multimedia, content creation l, etc. but a pain to move around. Folding it would help. 

    But… physics is physics. Take anything at all and bend it enough and it’s going to lose some strength. Even a rubber band, the ultimate bendy thing, can be bent/stretched to death. 

  • Reply 13 of 32
    A folding MacBook sounds far more interesting than a phone.
    9secondkox2mattinoz
  • Reply 14 of 32
    As big as the iPads are getting a foldable iPad would make sense.   I would't want one, but someone will.   
  • Reply 15 of 32
    wood1208wood1208 Posts: 2,913member
    What a dumb talk about no folding iPhone but some other product like iPad or Macbook Pro ! If Apple have not approved folding screen design for small device like iPhone than why would Apple do folding screen for larger device like iPad which is more technical challenge..  In reality, first Apple would make good foldable screen iPhone than expand that to iPad then Macbook.

    williamlondon
  • Reply 16 of 32
    bluefire1 said:
    Anyone who ever owed a Motorola Razr would understand why the idea of a foldable iPhone is so exciting.
    Yes, because Razrs are such hot sellers in 2024.
    bloggerblog9secondkox2
  • Reply 17 of 32
    omasou said:
    What's the benefit to me?

    It will take up the same volume and weigh the same amount and I'll have to continually worry that the screen will fail.

    Thinking about this reminds me of void pixel days and having to have x amount before Apple would replace a MacBook screen.
    The benefit over the longer term would be to have double the screen size in half the package, obviously. Nobody is there yet, and current foldables are heavy, clunky and shit. Much like the first smartphones.
  • Reply 18 of 32
    avon b7avon b7 Posts: 7,661member
    bluefire1 said:
    Anyone who ever owed a Motorola Razr would understand why the idea of a foldable iPhone is so exciting.
    Yes, because Razrs are such hot sellers in 2024.
    But... 

    https://www.yicaiglobal.com/news/chinas-shipments-of-foldable-smartphones-doubled-for-fourth-straight-year-idc-says

    If it doubles again this year and Apple has no equivalent offering, come October, how might things look in China when some have already claimed that the lack of a folding or flip option impacted their latest results in China? 

    The Razr had appeal and that is clearly one of the selling points of a flip phone. Forget other considerations for a moment. 

    https://www.gizchina.com/2024/02/22/huawei-pocket-2-flip-smartphone-is-launched/

    The Rococo and Grey options for that phone look absolutely gorgeous. 
    edited February 23 muthuk_vanalingam
  • Reply 19 of 32
    wood1208wood1208 Posts: 2,913member
    avon b7 said:
    bluefire1 said:
    Anyone who ever owed a Motorola Razr would understand why the idea of a foldable iPhone is so exciting.
    Yes, because Razrs are such hot sellers in 2024.
    But... 

    https://www.yicaiglobal.com/news/chinas-shipments-of-foldable-smartphones-doubled-for-fourth-straight-year-idc-says

    If it doubles again this year and Apple has no equivalent offering, come October, how might things look in China when some have already claimed that the lack of a folding or flip option impacted their latest results in China? 

    The Razr had appeal and that is clearly one of the selling points of a flip phone. Forget other considerations for a moment. 

    https://www.gizchina.com/2024/02/22/huawei-pocket-2-flip-smartphone-is-launched/

    The Rococo and Grey options for that phone look absolutely gorgeous. 

    When Razr phone came, there wasn't other better non-flip options and Razr had mechanical hinges that can last longer than folding screen. I like to know after 2-3 years of usage how that folding screen phones of Samsung or Huawei holds ? Initial purchase price and repair cost is also to be considered.
    paisleydisco
  • Reply 20 of 32
    avon b7avon b7 Posts: 7,661member
    wood1208 said:
    avon b7 said:
    bluefire1 said:
    Anyone who ever owed a Motorola Razr would understand why the idea of a foldable iPhone is so exciting.
    Yes, because Razrs are such hot sellers in 2024.
    But... 

    https://www.yicaiglobal.com/news/chinas-shipments-of-foldable-smartphones-doubled-for-fourth-straight-year-idc-says

    If it doubles again this year and Apple has no equivalent offering, come October, how might things look in China when some have already claimed that the lack of a folding or flip option impacted their latest results in China? 

    The Razr had appeal and that is clearly one of the selling points of a flip phone. Forget other considerations for a moment. 

    https://www.gizchina.com/2024/02/22/huawei-pocket-2-flip-smartphone-is-launched/

    The Rococo and Grey options for that phone look absolutely gorgeous. 

    When Razr phone came, there wasn't other better non-flip options and Razr had mechanical hinges that can last longer than folding screen. I like to know after 2-3 years of usage how that folding screen phones of Samsung or Huawei holds ? Initial purchase price and repair cost is also to be considered.
    I doubt many of the current buyers of folding phones want them for three years as it's not yet a mature market. I'm sure people are looking to upgrade them as newer, thinner, slimmer, sexier variants appear. There are also efforts to 'fashionise' folding and flip phones for specific cases (women's fashion accessories for example) 

    So far there has been no media howling over screen durability problems so I doubt that durability is an issue. 

    Like I said, even those considerations are second to 'appeal'. That could be enough to clinch the sale. 

    As for the Razr. While the most popular folding option, there were other options out there like the sliders which I even preferred over the folding phones.

    My Sony Ericssons were just as pleasing in the hand and very smooth in motion. 
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