Apple has started “early work” on an iPhone that has a folding screen, according to a new report from BloombergMark Gurman. Although testing of a foldable iPhone has begun, Apple has not committed to releasing a device that has a foldable screen.
The development has not yet expanded beyond a screen, and Apple does not have fully collapsible iPhone prototypes in the laboratories. Like folding smartphones from other companies, a folding foldiPhone will allow Apple to make a larger screen in a package that can still be charged.
Apple has discussed several foldable screen sizes, including one that unfolds to a size similar to the 6.7-inch screen on the iPhone 12 Pro Max. Apple’s design is said to have a “largely invisible hinge” with electronics placed behind the screen instead of two panels separated by a visible hinge.
Bloomberg suggests that a collapsible iPhone is likely to be “years gone” or “in the end will never be introduced,” with Apple focusing mostly on the updates to the flagship iPhones and iPads coming in 2021.
The iPhone 13 models planned for this year are not expected to contain major design changes, as the iPhone models in 2020 marked a significant technology and design revision. Apple engineers are said to consider the 2021 iPhones as an “S” version of the 2020 models. Apple has previously used the S nomenclature this year where PiPhone models included several minor updates.
Although design changes are expected to be minor, Apple is testing a Touch ID fingerprint reader on the screen that will mark a major change in the biometric systems that Apple has used for flagship devices since the launch of the iPhone X.
The fingerprint sensor will be made available in addition to Face ID, and will be convenient for iPhone users who cannot unlock iPhones with face recognition when wearing masks.
Apple has also considered removing the charging port for some iPhone models in favor of wireless charging, and it seems to be something that is still on the table for 2021 iPhones at this time.
BloombergToday’s report also confirms that AirTags is expected to be launched in 2021, and it repeats rumors about the iPad Pro suggesting that Apple is working on an updated version with a mini-LED screen and a faster processor.