iPhone Fold might borrow a key feature from the foldable Samsung Galaxy Z Flip

Samsung Galaxy Z Flip
Samsung's Galaxy Z Flip (Image credit: Future)
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We're not sure what the anticipated foldable iPhone will be called - maybe the iPhone Flip, iPhone Fold or something else entirely, but we're starting to get an idea of what it could look like thanks to patents.

The latest patent, discovered by Patently Apple (opens in new tab), shows a possible design for how a foldable iPhone could look. While a patent only shows this is something Apple is considering, not something it's set on making, it still gives us an idea of what the company is prioritizing for its first folding phone.

The new patent shows a large foldable, like the Samsung Galaxy Fold, that folds down when not in use to save space, though it seems to borrow a trick from the Samsung Galaxy Z Flip thanks to it having a small notification strip.

In the Samsung Galaxy Z Flip, a small notification panel on the front lets you check if you've got messages or voicemails or other notifications, all without actually opening the thing. The Motorola Razr had a similar trick too, although its 'panel' was actually a whole mini-screen on the front.

Unlike the Samsung and Motorola foldables, which have a separate screen to show notifications, it seems this iPhone Fold concept instead has one part of the screen jut out from the other when the phone is folded, with this protruding part showing you the notification. 

Thanks to the lack of a separate screen, this model of phone would likely be cheaper to create, and more battery-efficient, than the alternatives. The Samsung Galaxy Fold, which seems closest to this iPhone Fold in design, had an entire second screen on the front for checking notifications.

(Image credit: Patently Apple)

iPhone Flip or Fold?

It's worth pointing out that the device shown in this patent won't necessarily be a real phone we'll see in the flesh (or metal), though it might give us clues to what the final device will look like. 

We're not sure whether Apple will put out a larger foldable phone (like this), or a 'clamshell' (which folds in on itself to become more compact, like the Galaxy Z Flip) first, so even if this phone does become real it might not be the first foldable iPhone.

We've seen rumors and patents for both, as you can read about in our foldable iPhone roundup, so it's hard to say for certain which is coming first.

That said, flip phones seem more in fashion right now, with the aforementioned two biggest foldable phones both using that form factor, and Apple always has tried to focus on style, so we could see an iPhone Flip first.

Tom Bedford
Deputy Editor - Phones

Tom's role in the TechRadar team is to specialize in phones and tablets, but he also takes on other tech like electric scooters, smartwatches, fitness, mobile gaming and more. He is based in London, UK.

He graduated in American Literature and Creative Writing from the University of East Anglia. Prior to working in TechRadar freelanced in tech, gaming and entertainment, and also spent many years working as a mixologist. Outside of TechRadar he works in film as a screenwriter, director and producer.