Apple reportedly developing a foldable iPhone Flip, though it could be years away

Samsung Galaxy Z Flip
(Image credit: Future)

Apple may finally be working on a foldable iPhone, according to Bloomberg, which has reported that the company has allegedly developed folding screen prototypes to test internally. But it doesn’t sound like Apple has finalized the design – an iPhone Flip may be coming, but might still be years away. 

The supposed iPhone Flip has long been rumored, but we haven’t heard much from what could be internal deliberations until now. From the sounds of the report, Apple has been tinkering with multiple foldable screen sizes, most of which are unspecified aside from one that unfolds to a similar size as the iPhone 12 Pro Max’s 6.7-inch display.

In other words, that specific design sounds more like the Samsung Galaxy Z Flip, a clamshell foldable that expanded to the size of a typical smartphone...and folded up to a compact form twice as thick with half the footprint. 

But the iPhone Flip or foldable, whatever it ends up being, may not ‘be’ at all: the testing may never result in a device released on the market, the report suggests. Even if it does, it’s unlikely to fully replace the main iPhone line. 

So what could change in the iPhone 13?

So what’s coming in the next iPhone, tentatively known as the iPhone 13? Not much is expected to change from last year’s iPhone 12, according to the Bloomberg report, though one improvement could be the addition of an in-screen fingerprint sensor.

The reason is obvious: after a year wearing masks blocking Face ID authentication, iPhone owners would likely be relieved to have a quicker way to access phones than wait for facial authentication to fail long enough to enter a passcode. This would be a marked departure from iPhone flagship dogma, which has exclusively relied on Face ID since the iPhone X was released in November 2017. 

The iPhone 13 could pack a different improvement: ditching the Lightning port entirely, leaving the phones reliant on wireless MagSafe tech to recharge, per the report. This would be a curious move, and a frustrating one for consumers hoping to see the iPhone fully switch to USB-C, as the iPad Pro line did years ago. 

Via XDA Developers

David Lumb

David is now a mobile reporter at Cnet. Formerly Mobile Editor, US for TechRadar, he covered phones, tablets, and wearables. He still thinks the iPhone 4 is the best-looking smartphone ever made. He's most interested in technology, gaming and culture – and where they overlap and change our lives. His current beat explores how our on-the-go existence is affected by new gadgets, carrier coverage expansions, and corporate strategy shifts.