Apple may abandon foldable iPhone — analysts cast doubt on project after release date rumor slips to 2027

Folding iPhone concept mock up
(Image credit: Rene Ritchie / iMore)

Apple may abandon its foldable iPhone project, according to analysts responding to the latest rumor that the release date of such a device might have fallen to 2027. 

The news comes by way of two supply chain reports. Earlier this month, Korean outlet Alpha Biz reported that Apple plans to start selling its foldable iPhones “a little later than expected,” citing an adjusted launch window “from the originally planned fourth quarter of 2026 to the first quarter of 2027.” 

Now, a Digitimes report seen by iMore Thursday claims “Apple may abandon the foldable iPhone,” according to analysts. Digitimes cites analysts who say “Apple may abandon the foldable iPhone project due to panel technology not being mature enough,” with the report suggesting that it could become the next Apple Car, an ambitious project doomed to failure. 

Is the foldable iPhone still coming?

Despite the naysayers cited in the report, Digitimes notes that Apple, at present, is still pressing on with its plans. Component manufacturers “are expected to proceed according to the original schedule,” and Apple has reportedly made adjustments internally, bringing staff from its Apple Vision Pro project over to foldables. 

As per the report, “Apple is in the early stages of developing two top-down flip smartphones,” citing one prediction that a foldable iPhone will have a 6-inch external display and an 8-inch main display. Aside from the clamshell designs, there is also reportedly still the possibility Apple could launch a “left-right fold product” in the style of the Microsoft Surface Duo. 

Digitimes says it is rumored that “Apple is currently discussing supply orders with LG Display (LGD) and Samsung Display (SDC),” and that Apple has some pretty stringent quality controls for the display panels, which need to be half as thick as Apple’s current best iPhones and feature a folding crease “that can hopefully be completely smooth.” Apple will also reportedly fill the foldable displays with “polymer materials” to reduce light reflection. Just like the Apple Car project the reports allude to, the foldable iPhone still seems to be very much on Apple’s radar, but the hope of some analysts is starting to fade. 

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Stephen Warwick
News Editor

Stephen Warwick has written about Apple for five years at iMore and previously elsewhere. He covers all of iMore's latest breaking news regarding all of Apple's products and services, both hardware and software. Stephen has interviewed industry experts in a range of fields including finance, litigation, security, and more. He also specializes in curating and reviewing audio hardware and has experience beyond journalism in sound engineering, production, and design.

Before becoming a writer Stephen studied Ancient History at University and also worked at Apple for more than two years. Stephen is also a host on the iMore show, a weekly podcast recorded live that discusses the latest in breaking Apple news, as well as featuring fun trivia about all things Apple. Follow him on Twitter @stephenwarwick9