Apple Is Working on Clamshell Foldable iPhone and iPad Prototypes

Don't expect Apple's foldable devices to get an official launch anytime soon.

Highlights
  • Apple has at least two clamshell foldable iPhone prototypes under development.
  • The foldable iPhone is in the early stages of development and engineers are struggling with the design.
  • The foldable iPad is said to have an inward fold mechanism and iPad Mini-like size.

The foldable smartphone industry has evolved a lot since its early days but tech giant Apple is yet to make an entrance. There have been plenty of rumours about the company’s foldable development plans and as the wait continues, a new report has emerged claiming Apple has at least two clamshell foldable iPhone prototypes in development.

Apple’s First Foldable iPhone Could Take on Samsung Galaxy Z Flip Series

It is reported that Apple will be talking to suppliers in Asia regarding component orders. The two prototypes mainly differ in size and are currently in the early stage of development.

Apple seems to have settled for the clamshell folding design for its first foldable iPhone. This is the same approach we have seen with the likes of the Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 5, Oppo Find N2 Flip, and Tecno Phantom V Flip. These foldable phones are a lot more compact and convenient to carry around in comparison to book-style foldables like the Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 5 and OnePlus Open.

The company could be exploring the possibility of offering a display on the outer side of the foldable iPhone. They are looking to manufacture a device with a thickness of half of currently available iPhones. It will prevent the foldable iPhone from getting too thick once folded. However, the engineering team is said to be struggling with the design because of component-related issues, primarily display and battery.

Apple has high expectations from the foldable iPhone. It is the reason there is a possibility it may cancel the project altogether before the release. Even if things go as planned, a foldable iPhone is not expected to launch anytime soon. The report suggests it is unlikely to see an official launch before 2026.

Apple Working on 8-inch Foldable iPad

Apple also has a foldable iPad prototype under development alongside the iPhone. It is said to have an 8-inch display and is expected to be similar to an iPad Mini. The company is said to have begun development sometime around 2020 when it paused the foldable iPhone project for a while.

It does not have as strict durability expectations from the folding iPad as an iPhone. It is said to be okay with the device turning out to be a little thicker as it is a device not meant to be carried around in one’s pockets. The engineers are mainly focusing on reducing the crease that appears after numerous folding and unfolding.

Apple also wants the folding iPad to lie flat on the surface for a better user experience with Apple Pencil. As far as the launch is concerned, it is unlikely to get official before 2026.

Yet again, these are mere rumours and Apple is nowhere close to launching a foldable product anytime soon. But whenever we get any information regarding this, we won’t forget to inform you!