What you need to know
- Two foldable iPhone prototypes have passed internal testing.
- One prototype features a dual-display whereas another features a clamshell design.
As reported by The Economic Daily Times (via MacRumors), two prototype iPhones featuring a foldable display have passed internal durability tests. Each prototype reportedly features an Apple-designed folding hinge system, and both have apparently completed testing at the Foxconn factory in Shenzhen, China.
The first foldable iPhone is said to be a dual-screen model that, despite being made with two separate displays, comes together when it is folded out to appear as if it is one giant screen. This design sounds similar to Microsoft's Surface Duo, albeit the seamless folded-out display.
The first foldable iPhone to undergo testing is said to be a dual-screen model, which is likely the same dual-display prototype rumored by Jon Prosser in June 2020. Prosser explained at the time that this model used two separate display panels connected by a hinge. Though the prototype iPhone features two separate displays connected by a hinge, Prosser claimed that the panels look "fairly continuous and seamless." It is also of note that Apple has patented a device with two separate displays that can be brought together to create a single foldable device with a hinge, which sounds strikingly similar to the rumored dual-screen Apple foldable.
The second prototype is a clamshell design similar to the Samsung Galaxy Z Flip or the new Motorola Razr.
The second prototype to have undergone testing is reportedly a clamshell foldable, much like the Samsung Galaxy Z Flip or Lenovo's Moto RAZR. The UDN report claims that this clamshell model is set to use a flexible Samsung OLED display. Previous reports have also said that Apple ordered a "large number" of Samsung foldable mobile phone display samples for testing purposes earlier in 2020.
According to the report, Apple currently only plans to move forward with one of the designs and, now that testing is complete on both prototypes, will decide on which one it will move to the next stage of development.
It is unclear if the two devices to have been tested had different hinge systems. The test units are purported to be shells with very limited internals rather than fully-working devices. This is because the main purpose of the testing was to assess the durability of the Apple-designed hinge system. The report states that now the testing has concluded, Apple is expected to evaluate which of the two foldable models to proceed with, and only one will be carried forwards into continued development.
A foldable iPhone, according to UDN, will not see any kind of public announcement until at least 2022 or 2023.