The Information reported that Apple has two iPhone prototypes that fold similar to a clamshell. These two prototypes are likely to meet mass production in 2024-25 and a launch could happen in 2026.
Clamshell phones have been in the market for a few years now, and it is primarily based on a flip phone design. There are two parts in this phone connected with a hinge and it opens/closes similar to a clamshell.
Unlike traditional flip phones, the foldable phone has a single touchscreen display that folds inwards (vertically). Some of the phone makers offer a cover screen, which is used when the phone is closed. Samsung’s Galaxy Z Flip series is quite popular in this foldable segment.
Speaking of which, Apple is approaching Samsung and LG for foldable display panels. The iPhone maker is exploring options to get hinge components from Asian suppliers specifically from Taiwan.
There’s still uncertainty over Apple’s plan for launching foldable smartphones and the report mentions that the devices could get canceled if it doesn’t match the company’s quality standards.
The key challenge for a foldable phone is based on several factors and the biggest concern is “durability”. Foldable screens are more scratch-friendly, create creases, and could easily damage if not operated properly.
The hinge mechanism is another piece of technology that needs improvements that could lead to issues in hardware. Cost is another major hurdle that keeps customers at bay.
Amid these concerns and challenges, customers are still taking high interest in new foldable phones and the market is increasing with new phones maturing the technologies and taking the price down.