Two prototype collapsible iPhones have passed internal tests for durability, according to the Taiwanese website Economic Daily News.
Testing of an Apple-designed folding hinge system for two different iPhones was reportedly recently completed at the Foxconn plant in Shenzhen, China.
The first foldable iPhone to be tested is said to be a dual-screen model, which is probably the same dual-display prototype rumored by Jon Prosser in June 2020. Prosser explained at the time that this model used two separate display panels connected by a hinge . Although the prototype iPhone has two separate screens connected by a hinge, Prosser claimed that the panels look “quite continuous and seamless”. It’s also noted that Apple has patented a device with two separate screens that can be brought together to create a single collapsible device with a hinge, which sounds strikingly similar to the infamous Apple folding screen.
The second prototype that has been tested is reportedly a collapsible fold, much like the Samsung Galaxy Z Flip or Lenovo’s Moto RAZR. The UDN The report claims that this clamshell model is set to use a flexible Samsung OLED display. Previous reports have also said that Apple ordered a “large number” of Samsung folding mobile phone screen samples for testing purposes earlier in 2020.
It is unclear whether the two units tested had different hinge systems. The test units are claimed to be shells with very limited internal rather than fully functioning units. This is because the main purpose of the testing was to assess the durability of the Apple-designed hinge system. The report says that now that the testing is complete, Apple is expected to evaluate which of the two collapsible models to continue with, and only one will be taken on to further development.
The findings in this report seem to have been mirrored by sources who spoke to Jon Prosser. Prosser explained in a recent Front Page Tech video that there were two prototype collapsible iPhones under testing, including one with two display panels and a seashell with a single flexible OLED display. Pros’ sources also said that these devices have passed durability testing and are now being evaluated by Apple.
A November 2020 report stated that Apple had sent foldable iPhones to Foxconn to test the folding bearings with over 100,000 opening and closing tests, which appears to be analogous to the recently completed test trial. Given the consistency of rumors surrounding collapsible iPhones from multiple sources, especially related to testing, they may be more credible.
UDN predicts that a collapsible iPhone will not appear until 2022 or 2023 at the earliest. Apple has applied for a large number of patents related to a collapsible iPhone dating back to 2016, and it seems highly likely that work on a collapsible iPhone will develop.