KEY POINTS

  • Apple hasn't released a foldable device yet
  • It is in the process of testing a foldable smartphone, reports say
  • Apple is testing two designs and is expected to release the one that performs better

Samsung, Motorola and LG may need to step up their game when it comes to foldable devices because Apple is also in the process of creating its own foldable iPhone, according to reports.

Cupertino tech giant Apple has asked its partner Foxconn to create two “shells” or casings to be used for potential foldable smartphones, Taiwanese news site United Daily News reported (via Tom’s Guide).

The shells are currently being tested at the manufacturer’s facility and are aimed at evaluating the strength, durability and flexibility of Apple’s hinge. It’s currently unclear what kind of hinge this is.

The two shells, however, indicate that the company is looking at two different designs.

First, there’s a foldable that features a similar design as Samsung’s Galaxy Z Flip and Motorola’s Razr foldable. This device is supposed to look like a regular iPhone when unfolded but folds in the middle to become more portable. UDN noted that this device might use Samsung’s flexible OLED display panel.

Second, there’s a foldable that’s more like Microsoft’s Surface Duo in terms of its design. This one uses two displays, held together by a hinge. The device folds like a book. Its two screens are also designed to work together seamlessly when they are placed beside each other when the device is unfolded.

UDN noted that Apple is still testing to see which hinge will work better. It added that the company will “likely” mass-produce the one that performs exceptionally and will then ditch the inferior device.

The report said that it’s too early to say when Apple plans to release its supposed foldable iPhone. The company, it said, “has not yet determined the development timeline for foldable screen phones.”

The market, the outlet added, estimates that the company will bring the device to the public by the end of 2022 at the earliest or by the following year, 2023.

Apple is known for waiting for technologies to mature before incorporating them into its devices. This ensures that the devices it brings to the market are of premium quality and boast superb durability and proven performance.

Foldable iPhone? Does this look like a foldable iPhone? Photo: Apple/USPTO