Video shows foldable Apple iPhone concept that opens up to become an iPad mini12
Before the issues with the Samsung Galaxy Fold forced Samsung to delay the launch of the device, a Korean research firm constructed a timeline. The chart showed which manufacturers are expected to release a foldable phone and the timeframe when this should happen. The list includes Samsung, Huawei, LG, Oppo Xiaomi, Vivo, Motorola, and even Microsoft. The last name on the chart is Apple, with a foldable iPhone rumored to be released in the second half of next year. Of course, the problems that Samsung has encountered with the Galaxy Fold (and not just those from influencers removing the plastic film from the screen) could set this timeline back.
Meanwhile, a company called ConceptsCreator has released a video for its foldable iPhone concept it calls the iFlex. Keep in mind that while concepts are cool to look at, those creating them don't have the same limitations that real engineers and designers have. For example, the Apple employees presumably working on a real foldable iPhone in some hidden room in Cupertino have to be creative when it comes to fitting all of the components together. Those creating concepts don't have to worry about these things. They also don't have to actually source the material to build a reliable hinge and test it to make sure it will stand up to years of use.
With that in mind, the so-called iFlex folds inward like the Galaxy Fold (as opposed to the outward fold required to close the Huawei Mate X). It sports a quad-camera set up in back, including what appears to be a Time-of-Flight depth sensor. A pop-up spring-loaded FaceTime camera is seen in the video, which reveals the concept's specs. The external screen measures 5.4-inches and has a 16:9 aspect ratio. It opens to a 7.9-inch screen with a 4:3 aspect ratio. If that screen size sounds familiar, it's because it matches the size of the display used on the Apple iPad mini series. Since this is a concept, things like a crease in the middle of the internal screen are digitally removed, and while the device as a whole looks like a stunner, you can imagine how much a phone like this might cost.
Apple has filed patents for a foldable iPhone
Last month, we showed you another foldable iPhone concept that also features an inward fold. This concept, dubbed the iPhone X Fold, came with a 6.6-inch external display that opens to reveal an 8.3-inch internal screen.
As far as Apple is concerned, it seems to have filed some major patents related to a foldable iPhone. Perhaps the most important parts of a foldable phone are the screen and the hinge and Apple has filed patents for both of these. One patent even reveals a method that can warm up the flexible screen on a cold day so that it doesn't get brittle and break. Another patent deals with the use of a material that will fill up the part of the flexible display that thins out when it is fully open.
Coming up with the hardware is just part of the story. Apple will also have to develop a new version of iOS that will work on a foldable iPhone. And while the Galaxy Fold hardware has been a let down so far, some of the things that the phone offers in terms of features could be copied by Apple. For example, with the App Continuity feature on the Galaxy Fold, an app opened on the external screen will automatically open on the larger screen.