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Folding iPhone & under-screen Face ID rumored arrival date pushed back — again

The 'iPhone Fold' is expected to take design cues from existing Apple products

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A market researcher is now making the claim that Apple will have both folding iPhones and under-screen Face ID — but both won't be ready to launch for years.

It's been reported previously that the iPhone 16 Pro will move to an under-panel Face ID sensor and presumably therefore end the need for either a notch or the Dynamic Island. Apple has also been said to be working on two prototype folding iPhones — if it hasn't abandoned the idea entirely.

According to The Elec, however, senior market researcher Omdia Kang Min-soo has been telling the 2024 Korea Display Conference audience that Apple will have foldables and under-panel Face ID later than expected. The iPhone 17 range will include a foldable, but it will be the iPhone 18 Pro that could go full-screen without a Dynamic Island.

"Apple predicts to launch a 7- to 8-inch foldable iPhone in 2026," Min-soo said. "Next year, the iPhone SE4 with low-temperature polycrystalline silicon (LTPS) TFT OLED will come out, and if the iPhone 17 series applies LTPO TFT in all four models in the second half of next year, Apple should also have to differentiate the iPhone lineup."

The researcher claims that this differentiation will come from hiding the Face ID sensor under the display. He says Apple had originally intended to add this to the 2024 iPhone 16, but now claims that it will be introduced in 2027 — later than other rumor sources believe.

It's the introduction of a foldable iPhone that this researcher thinks will also further differentiate Apple from its rivals, despite those rivals already having folding smartphones. In Apple's case, he argues that an iPhone that folds out to 7-inch or 8-inch screen size would make it like an iPad mini.

Such an iPhone Fold would be like an iPad mini with an OLED screen. Consequently, he claims that when "a 7-inch foldable product is released... it can aim for synergy or differentiation with the iPad mini."

Omdia researcher Kang Min-soo does not have an established track record in Apple News, and nor does the Korea Display Conference. However, The Elec has strong supply chain contacts, even if it is sometimes off the mark with its predictions of Apple's plans.