Apple's Foldable iPhone Prototype Allegedly Features Separate Display Panels Connected by Hinge

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Apple is working on a foldable iPhone prototype that features two separate display panels that are connected by a hinge rather than a single display like the Samsung Galaxy Fold, according to leaker Jon Prosser who shared the info in a tweet and a YouTube interview shared by Jon Rettinger.

A mockup of an iPhone that has two displays and a hinge​

Prosser says that the foldable iPhone has rounded, stainless steel edges like the current iPhone 11 and no notch, but a "tiny forehead" on the outer display for Face ID.


Though the iPhone features two separate displays connected by a hinge, Prosser claims that the panels look "fairly continuous and seamless."

Samsung's Galaxy Fold​

Samsung's foldable smartphone, the Galaxy Fold, is designed as a single display with a fold in the middle that allows it to open and close. Prosser believes that Apple's version that's in the works looks more similar to Microsoft's Surface Neo and Surface Duo, both of which are foldable dual display devices that feature two displays connected with a hinge.

Microsoft's Surface Neo and Duo​

There's no word on when Apple might develop a foldable iPhone, but there have been rumors about work on such a device dating back to 2016, as well as a number of patents. A March 2020 patent described a device that featured two separate displays that could be brought together to create a single bendable device with a hinge.


It's not clear if the foldable iPhone will ever move out of a prototyping stage, but it doesn't look like a foldable device is launching in the near future. More information on Apple's alleged work on a foldable iPhone can be found in our guide.

Article Link: Apple's Foldable iPhone Prototype Allegedly Features Separate Display Panels Connected by Hinge
 
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macsplusmacs

macrumors 6502
Nov 23, 2014
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You know, I visualized what this would be like in my mind just now, and HAVING to unfold my phone each time, man this does not conform to the way I use my phone, I will pass and just keep using a BIG phone like the iphone 12 pro max and my ipad pro for bigger work that I need to get done.

And Glasses. give me my apple glasses.
 

its93rc

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Feb 8, 2012
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I used a Galaxy Z Flip for two months and it was a nice product. I imagined Apple would go that design route when they made their own product. The Z Flip looked seamless when opened and the folding was convenient. Sure it had its drawbacks: the hinges would loosen a bit when it was hot outside, sub-par battery-life compared to my 11 Pro Max, and Android is not for me. But, it definitely felt premium and sturdy for such an early design. I hope Apple polishes some of that product's weaknesses when they release their version of a foldable (specially the hinges loosening, maybe more magnets?).
 
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wigby

macrumors 68000
Jun 7, 2007
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Surely this is false, maybe to catch the person doing the leaks?

I cant imagine apple putting their name to this, the design element seems to have been.....forgotten.
Apple has every conceivable design in their labs for testing purposes. That is precisely why they are the best at design. The only reason we are hearing about this one is because a notable name has put their reputation behind this particular rumor. But there really is no reason to assume they will ever release such a product just as they haven't released hundreds of iPhone, iPad and MacBook iterations over the years either.
 

biffuz

macrumors member
Feb 23, 2016
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Please stop calling these patents "prototypes". They're ideas. Patented to prevent anybody else to use them. And since nobody ever made a phone like this, which seems trivial, looks like it worked.
Do you remember the notebook with the CD reader on the bottom? I dunno they ever thought of actually building one.
 

forerunnerg34

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Oct 6, 2015
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What would even be the point of this? I have thought long and hard about these foldable phones/tablets and I do not see how it helps anyone other than a niche group of people.
You are more productive with two screens. If you just use the phone for chatting or taking pictures, two screens is not important, however there are other workflows like having an email on the left and a document on the right, video call on one screen and takes notes on the other. As MS said, two screens makes you more productive that is the reason the Duo exists, current phones are focused on cameras, Surface Duo is trying something else with a purpose.
 

ronf129

macrumors newbie
Jul 6, 2010
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I think the biggest novelty in the "fold" phone was the foldable display. This does seem like just a mock-up. It does seem less polished than a regular Apple product.
 

jmgregory1

macrumors 68000
If they can figure out a hinge mechanism that not only allows for folding / unfolding, but also pulls the two halves together when opened, you could have what would be close to being a seamless appearance. Kind of like the devices that were portrayed in WestWorld.

The thing with folding devices, is that to make them usable as daily drivers, you kind of need to add a 3rd screen to one of the outside panels, so that you can glance at it, without needing to always open it up. It’s just not as efficient to use, so like with many products, you have to ask whether the trade offs are worth the benefits. Personally, I’d rather see an iPad Pro turned into a folding screen device. You could use it in laptop mode where one screen is the keyboard, or fold it open completely and get the full 12.9” screen (as one example).
 

Shanghaichica

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Apr 8, 2013
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Please stop calling these patents "prototypes". They're ideas. Patented to prevent anybody else to use them. And since nobody ever made a phone like this, which seems trivial, looks like it worked.
Do you remember the notebook with the CD reader on the bottom? I dunno they ever thought of actually building one.
Haven’t LG and Microsoft done something like this already?
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That would be the right way to go. Hopefully it removes the crease problem.
I’d rather have the crease than two displays put together with a hinge in the middle. If it’s anything like Microsoft’s efforts it just comes across as clunky. I also don’t really see it as a foldable display. It’s just putting two displays together and putting a bridge in between them which allows the device to fold.
 
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