Apple's folding iPhone - What to expect from the 'iPhone Fold'

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Apple is expected to announce an "iPhone Fold" with a flexible OLED display by 2024, and AppleInsider has created exclusive renders to show what it may look like.

Rumors and patents show that Apple has been working on a folding iPhone design for years. However, the technology required for such a device is still in its infancy, and it isn't clear what form the device may take.

Each year, more rumors arrive pushing the expected launch date of the "iPhone Fold" back further. In September 2021, well known analyst Ming-Chi Kuo said it may not arrive until 2024.

Unlike Apple, Samsung has been developing its folding technology in public with the Samsung Galaxy Fold and Samsung Galaxy Flip. Apple is testing both form factors for its first foldable, but may be leaning towards the flip design.

Even as flagship Android devices pioneer folding technology, Apple is content biding its time while the technology matures. Devices being released to the public have encountered issues from poor software optimization to creased displays.

The 'iPhone Fold' design could borrow from the 'iPhone 14'
The 'iPhone Fold' design could borrow from the 'iPhone 14'

Patents show that Apple expects to overcome these issues with complex hinges and display technology. AppleInsider based our renders off of a few of these patents and the Samsung Galaxy Fold.

Since the "iPhone 14" may introduce a radical redesign in 2022, the renders of the "iPhone Fold" take on those new elements. Flat sides combined with a hole-punch selfie camera and flush rear camera module make up the basic elements of this device.

The display shouldn't show a crease when fully open
The display shouldn't show a crease when fully open

We expect Apple's foldable to open and close without a crease or seam in the display. Fully closed the thickness of the device should be only slightly thicker than current iPhones, while open it should be similar to the size of the iPad mini.

It isn't yet clear how Apple will optimize iOS or iPadOS for the folding device. Little may have to change if the display only works in a fully open position. There is a chance that Apple could allow a three-quarters open or half-open mode for gaming or chat apps as well.

iOS or iPadOS may be used for Apple's foldable
iOS or iPadOS may be used for Apple's foldable

Some folding Android devices have multiple positions for operation and even an external display for use when the main display is closed. However, it isn't clear if Apple will adopt these more complex form factors.

For Apple's first foldable, expect it to be an iPhone that can simply fold open and shut. Beyond that, Apple may not want to sour the experience with experimental features or hardware additions.

The "iPhone Fold" is rumored to launch sometime in 2023 or 2024. Stay tuned for more exclusive renders of future Apple products on AppleInsider.