Apple will reportedly choose one of two designs being tested for its foldable iPhone
According to a report from Money UDN (via AppleInsider), Apple is developing a foldable iPhone and has boiled down the final design to two different versions. Apple's go-to contract manufacturer Foxconn reportedly put the two different designs through the assembler's quality control test. It should be pointed out that finished phones were not tested. Instead, the housing of the foldable phones and the displays were tested at Foxconn's Shenzhen facility to gauge the durability of the two different designs; both managed to pass.
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Apple is testing two different designs for a foldable iPhone
One of the designs that Apple is considering for a foldable iPhone is a flip style similar to the Motorola Razr and the Samsung Galaxy Z Flip. When closed, these models feature a small external display (Razr) or a ticker (Galaxy Z Flip) and flip open to become a large-screened phone. The second foldable design being tested for Apple is one that resembles a book that opens and closes like the Galaxy Fold. With this design, an iPhone user would open the device and turn it into an iPad tablet when a larger display is called for. The report suggests that Apple will determine the pros and cons of both designs and choose one to produce.
Illustration from Apple's patent application shows the gears that Apple might use to allow its foldable iPhone to move inward or outward
Today's report dovetails with an earlier one from last month that said Apple had shipped prototype units of foldable iPhones to Foxconn with a launch possibly taking place in September 2022. And there is some other news that we can pass along to you today regarding a foldable iPhone. Apple has filed an application with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) seeking a patent for a foldable iPhone. The application is titled "Folding Electronic Devices With Geared Hinges." Based on the patent application, the foldable would use geared hinges allowing the device to fold inward and outward. As stated in the patent application, "When compact size is desired in a folding configuration, device can be adjusted to be compact by folding portions... together. Device and display may, as an example, be folded inwardly and/or outwardly about [a] bend axis."
If the foldable iPhone is released in 2022 as rumored, it could debut just in time to be powered by the first chipset manufactured using the 3nm process node. Apple has reportedly placed orders with the top contract foundry in the world, TSMC, for 3nm production in 2022. Apple will use the manufacturing process for both its A series chips used for the iPhone and its new M series chips used to replace Intel on some Macs. There is some belief that in the near future, Apple will also use the M series chips on the iPad, or perhaps just the iPad Pro.