Two different folding iPhone prototypes allegedly pass first quality checks

Posted:
in General Discussion edited January 2021
A new report claims that Foxconn's foldable iPhone testing consisted of two entirely separate designs, and that both have passed the assembler's quality control checking.

Foldable iPhones could have displays that heal creases or dents themselves
Mockup of a foldable iPhone (Source: William Gallagher)


Following previous rumors that Foxconn is testing an iPhone that can fold, a new report says that it was in fact testing two competing designs for Apple. The testing took place in Foxconn's Shenzhen factory and is said to have concluded with both designs passing quality control.

According to Money UDN, what was tested was not finished phones but rather the shells of these two folding designs with, presumably, screens. The testing was specifically to gauge durability of the folding mechanism.

One of the designs is said to resemble the Samsung Galaxy Z Flip, or the Lenovo Moto RAZR, with a flip-phone style of internal folding screen. The other is claimed to be a dual-screen model, more like an open book like the Samsung Galaxy Fold.

Money UDN speculates that Apple will further evaluate both models, and then abandon one.

Apple's testing of foldable iPhone designs follows both many years of rumors, and very many patent applications on the topic. Previous reports about Foxconn's testing have included claims that Apple will release a folding iPhone in September 2022.

UDN has a decent track record as it pertains to Apple's supply chain. It has a notably poorer one in predicting Apple's future product plans. Thursday's report is a hybrid of the two.
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 34
    XedXed Posts: 1,464member
    If anyone can find a solution that is viable for the market, instead of just saying "we've put all this R&D into it let's ship something to get back some of the expense," it's Apple.

    I still don't see a reason for a hinged iPhone, but if Apple can make it work while keeping it durable then I'm open to it. Personally, I see foldable displays more useful as curved stationary devices, like a contoured form of a car's dashboard, than the literally folding smartphone, but maybe I just don't have the imagination for what could be.
    radarthekatcornchiprezwitsviclauyycwatto_cobrarazorpit
  • Reply 2 of 34
    radarthekatradarthekat Posts: 3,512moderator
    Two separate screens with a hinge that retracts at the last second to allow the screens to come perfectly together.  It would require a Herculean feat of engineering to accomplish, with special materials to sweep the screen edges of debris before the screens are allowed to come together, and to further prevent debris from entering the folding mechanism when the phone is subsequently folded shut.  Only this allows the phone to use hard glass screens.  Anything that simply folds the glass, to my thinking, is a fail.  I’d love to be proven wrong, to be shown glass that can fold flat like a folded sheet of paper.  I just don’t see that coming down the pike anytime soon.  

    Hmm, maybe two separate sheets with interleaved edges, like woodwork joinery.  That might work, but it’d need nanoscopic precision to construct those edges.  And some cool programming to present data across them. 
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 3 of 34
    crowleycrowley Posts: 10,257member

    Money UDN speculates that Apple will further evaluate both models, and then abandon one. 
    I speculate that if Apple ever evaluate any such models they will abandon all of them.
    cornchipviclauyyc
  • Reply 4 of 34
    I don’t know if I’d want a foldable iPhone. Maybe it would grow on me like most everything else Apple does or changes but if they ever do I hope they still always have these current flat screen phones as an option. I wouldn’t be ready right away. 
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 5 of 34
    cornchipcornchip Posts: 1,906member
    I see it making some sense for the ladies who want a big phone but have tiny pockets. Aaand... that’s about it.
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 6 of 34
    fallenjtfallenjt Posts: 4,046member
    I don’t see any benefit of foldable phones beside gimmick. The cost will be outraged.
    Scot1watto_cobra
  • Reply 7 of 34
    Here’s my thing with folding phones. 

    Benefits. 
    1) Folding to a more compact form factor. 
    2) potential  for More diversity in screen and camera use. 
    3) Self standing options. 

    Cons
    1) THAT HINGE 
    2) THAT SCREEN 
    3) Battery(s)

    Hinge:
    All phones won’t last forever but the complexity of the hinge design and operation leaves a lot to be concerned about. 

    Apple has spent years trying to minimize and fortify the design of the iPhone. To go back to more potentially vulnerable design could be the wrong step forward. 

    Screen:
    As far as the screen, I personally can’t stand that crease and the feel of the so called “glass” of those current foldable phones. Feels more like the plastic screen guards I used to use before discovering the tempered glass guards. 

    Not to mention that foldable screens have their own durability challenges. There’s only a certain amount of times the screen can be bent before the pixels and quality can or will start to deteriorate. 

    Again, they count and test for this but I just don’t care add those potential problems for the few benefits it offers. 

    Batteries:
    A Folding design may cause the need for smaller less powerful batteries.  

    Here’s to hoping Apple solves some if not all of these problems. 
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 8 of 34
    I’m sorry to say I’m not excited about a folding phone. I never liked flip phones and am so happy with the current iPhone I can’t see myself choosing a foldable phone ever when the likes of the current iPhone pro max models are so good. 
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 9 of 34
    For me, the water resistance and improved durability of the latest iPhones is far more valuable than the ability to fold into something smaller than the iPhone 12 Mini. Indeed, I'm more interested in seeing the water resistance and durability spread to iPads than any kind of folding ability for either iPhones or iPads.
    edited December 2020 watto_cobrarazorpit
  • Reply 10 of 34
    There is a reason why apple and Corning keep improving glass for the screen. It need to to hard, strong and durable. This is not going to happen for folding phone. Because it can only use plastic screen for now. For this reason alone, a good enough folding phone will not happen in new future.

    Also, if there is something can move, hinges, it can break rather easily.
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 11 of 34
    entropysentropys Posts: 3,509member
    It makes more sense for iPad.
    a folded over phone is thick.  Maybe one side isn’t as thick as the other to get around this, but then the battery is too small for the screen size.

    I had a foldable Motorola phone back in the day. But it was twice as thick as my mini and maybe two thirds as long, it’s screen was on one side, low res and tiny, and the other was a keypad and a small chin. Maybe a chin on one end of a foldable iPhone to boost internal use options and keep it thinner overall?
    edited December 2020 watto_cobracornchip
  • Reply 12 of 34
    If the screen doesn’t feel as nice as glass then I think it’ll be a mistake. A substandard-feeling product as a ‘new hot item’ from Apple would be a sign Apple is lost.
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 13 of 34
    Sounds like complete nonsense, but if it isn’t.., I could see this being a test run for foldable Apple Glasses, not a phone.
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 14 of 34
    bushman4bushman4 Posts: 843member
    A foldable iPhone is years away IF we ever see one
     Apple has a few different patents on this going back about 5 years and nothing has come off it
     Testing of prototypes is a normal event it does not mean that the product is coming to fruition
     
  • Reply 15 of 34
    fred1fred1 Posts: 965member
    I agree with those who don’t see a need for a foldable iPhone. What I could use is a foldable iPad Mini that would let me double the screen size when I need it and put in a bag when folded. But my preference is for two separate glass screens with a hairline gap between them. There are too many compromises needed to make a screen that folds. 
  • Reply 16 of 34
    A foldable car would make more sense. 
    fred1SpamSandwich
  • Reply 17 of 34
    GeorgeBMacGeorgeBMac Posts: 11,421member
    fallenjt said:
    I don’t see any benefit of foldable phones beside gimmick. The cost will be outraged.

    They will have the same appeal -- actually more -- than the old flip phone:   it provides more functionality in a smaller package while protecting the valuable real estate.

    It's not IF but WHEN we will be using them.   Currently the only remedy is to carry a brick like the iPhone Pro Max in your pocket -- providing it will even fit into your pocket.
    muthuk_vanalingam
  • Reply 18 of 34
    GeorgeBMacGeorgeBMac Posts: 11,421member
    longpath said:
    For me, the water resistance and improved durability of the latest iPhones is far more valuable than the ability to fold into something smaller than the iPhone 12 Mini. Indeed, I'm more interested in seeing the water resistance and durability spread to iPads than any kind of folding ability for either iPhones or iPads.

    Why would you assume that they are exclusive?   That's it's either/or?
  • Reply 19 of 34
    GeorgeBMacGeorgeBMac Posts: 11,421member
    These arguments against foldable iPhones are reminiscent of the arguments against 5G:   There's a million reasons why Apple can't and shouldn't go there -- until they do.   Then its great!

    It's not smart to bet against the advance of technology. 
    avon b7phonephreakmuthuk_vanalingam
  • Reply 20 of 34
    cornchipcornchip Posts: 1,906member
    entropys said:
    It makes more sense for iPad.
    I agree with this.
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