Apple is working on more foldable phone prototypes: report

This article originally appeared on Business Insider.

Apple is reportedly working on prototypes of foldable devices.

The company is making prototypes of at least two iPhones that would fold widthwise and has contacted at least one manufacturer regarding parts for foldable phones in different sizes, The Information reported Wednesday, citing a person with direct knowledge of the matter.

The phones are still in the early development stage and there is no guarantee they will ever become available to consumers, the person told the publication.

Apple is also considering a foldable iPad and has worked with LG and Samsung on displays for foldable iPad prototypes, The Information reported, citing former Apple employees.

Apple has been studying foldable devices for years.

In 2016, the company received a patent for a phone that could fold in half. In 2020, Apple filed a patent for a foldable electronic device that, when folded, would still leave a small portion of the display exposed so the user could continue to see notifications even with the phone closed. An Apple patent application from last year detailed a foldable iPhone that could close itself if dropped to protect the screen from serious damage.

In 2022, supply chain analyst Ming-Chi Kuo expected Apple could launch its first foldable device no earlier than 2025 and predicts it could be “a foldable iPad or a hybrid between iPad and iPhone.”

Last year, Bloomberg reporter Mark Gurman said of foldable iPhones that he “did not see them launching in the near future,” adding that the company is more “focused on larger foldable devices.”

In a resurgence of foldable phones, competitors like Google, Samsung and Motorola have released their own versions in recent years.

Samsung Galaxy flip phone and Motorola Razr flip phone

Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 5 (left) and Motorola Razr (right). Best Buy / Motorola via BI

The head of Samsung’s mobile experience division, TM Roh, told CNET last year that the company’s foldable phones were “on par” with sales of the Galaxy Note, which is also foldable. According to a report by Korean media outlet The Elec, the company aims to sell 20 million foldable smartphones this year.

Apple did not immediately respond to a request for comment prior to publication.

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