The folding iPhone that Apple didn’t announce during the keynote, but probably should have

In the past year, Apple’s made a case for small phones (with its iPhone Mini series), citing their convenience, and large phones (the Plus and Pro Max), mentioning how nice a bigger display is. This Apple iPhone Fold concept gives consumers the ultimate best of both worlds.

Here’s the scoop. We KNOW Apple’s working on folding phones. Multiple patents confirm that they’ve been testing bending screens, new-fangled hinges, and their IP repertoire almost certainly has foldables in it. However, the company is famed for its ‘go hard or go home’ approach, which means they will never attempt anything until it’s absolutely perfect… even if it means being beaten to the punch by companies like Samsung or Huawei.

Designer: Michal Dufka

Although it’s unlikely that Apple will launch a folding iPhone in at least the next 2 years, here’s a look at a concept that does the tough job of living up to the iPhone’s already hallowed reputation of being the best phone on the market. Meet the iPhone iFold, a concept foldable from the mind of Michal Dufka. The iPhone iFold (although Apple would probably call it the iPhone Dynamic Clamshell) follows the format of the MotoRAZR and the Samsung Galaxy Z Flip, with a clamshell-style folding design that gives you the benefit of a compact iPhone with a generously large screen.

There’s a lot to unpack here, so let’s start with the format itself. It isn’t too different from the Galaxy Z Flip (which is arguably a more popular model than the Z Fold), and for what it’s worth, looks a lot like your standard iPhone too. So for Apple purists, there’s nothing really to dislike here – it’s literally a standard iPhone when open. However, there are two little details that are interesting… (actually maybe more than just two)

For starters… this is the first iPhone to have two displays. With a smaller display located just to the side of the camera bump, the iPhone iFold, you can now access important stats and notifications without opening your phone. Sort of like having the convenience of an Apple Watch, this secondary display gives you the gist of what’s up. Given Apple’s recent advancements in always-on displays, this new iPhone has the perfect setup. Keep the main display off while the phone’s closed, and keep the secondary display on all the time. Also, is it just me or does the secondary display’s concave bezel feel a lot like the Apple Watch Ultra?!

The second detail, however, can be attributed to the fact that this concept was made before the September 7th iPhone event. Scroll up above and look at the display and you’ll notice the presence of a hole-punch camera instead of a “dynamic island”. It isn’t entirely clear how designer Michal Dufka expected the new phone to authenticate users, although maybe future technologies could see facial-recognition tech sitting entirely under the display with just the need for a camera cutout to manifest itself on the screen. Arguably, the primary camera lenses could serve as FaceID scanners too (after all there is a LiDAR scanner in the camera array), although that seems like it would complicate things. If you notice, the iPhone iFold concept also has a SIM tray, which Apple famously did away with the iPhone 14 series.

Will Apple launch a folding phone soon? If I were a betting man, I’d put all my money on NO. The company’s product development cycle is absolutely spy-proof, but word almost always leaks about what’s releasing in the next 1-2 years. From credible leakers, a folding iPhone isn’t one of them.

That isn’t to say that a folding iPhone isn’t a great idea. As I said, this particular folding format offers the best of both worlds, giving you a compact little square puck when you need it, and a large vertical screen when you want it. I wonder where and how you’d mount things like the MagSafe Charger and Wallet, however…