The foldable iPhone could have a surprising design with just one screen

Image of the Huawei Mate X2 foldable smartphone
The Huawei Mate Xs 2 (Image credit: Basil Kronfli)

Most modern foldable phones broadly follow the same design principles as either the Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 5 or the Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 5, but it seems the foldable iPhone might not. Instead, it might borrow from the Huawei Mate Xs 2.

This is according to a new investor note from Haitong International analyst Jeff Pu, seen by 9to5Mac. Pu describes the foldable iPhone as having a “wrap around foldable design”, saying it’s “similar” to the Huawei Mate Xs 2.

So what does that mean? Well, the Huawei Mate Xs 2 is a large-screen foldable, similar to the Galaxy Z Fold 5, except while Samsung’s phone has both a cover screen (for using it with a phone-like form factor) and a foldable display to use it more like a tablet, the Huawei Mate Xs 2 has just one screen.

This one screen is a large foldable display, as you can see in the images above, but it’s on the outside of the phone (rather than being hidden inside when the screen is folded). The result being that it folds down to a phone-size screen, without needing a second display.

There are potential advantages to this, with the lack of a second screen meaning fewer display components are needed. So in theory Apple could probably either make the device slimmer, or use the saved space for something else, like a bigger battery.

On the other hand, this design also means that the foldable display – which is arguably the most vulnerable part of the phone – is always exposed.

So we’d take this claim with a pinch of salt, but it would make sense for Apple to want to go with a design that’s slightly different to the norm, especially since it’s so late to join the foldable party.

Still years away

Speaking of which, in the same note Pu says to expect the foldable iPhone in 2026, and that the screen will be 7.9 inches, though these are both things they’ve claimed before, so they’re just reiterating this here.

That release timing is in line with some other leaks, though other sources have claimed that the foldable iPhone probably won’t land before 2027. So either way we’re unlikely to see it anytime soon.

In the meantime though there’s plenty of other Apple stuff on the way. The company just announced iOS 18 and Apple Intelligence at WWDC 2024, with this new software set to launch later this year, probably alongside the iPhone 16 series.

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James Rogerson

James is a freelance phones, tablets and wearables writer and sub-editor at TechRadar. He has a love for everything ‘smart’, from watches to lights, and can often be found arguing with AI assistants or drowning in the latest apps. James also contributes to, and and has written for T3, Digital Camera World, Clarity Media and others, with work on the web, in print and on TV.