First folding iPhone might be a fun, colorful ‘flip phone’

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The first folding iPhone might look something like this.
The first folding iPhone might look something like this.
Screenshot: Front Page Tech

Apple could have decided on the look of the first folding iPhone. Previously, the company was thought to be considering two options, but the winner is a “flip phone” design, according to a trusted Apple prognosticator.

The same source also has a hint that the folding iPhone might cost less than rival flexible phones. But it supposedly will not arrive before 2023 (and could come even later).

Two folding iPhones diverged in a wood

One of the two possible flexible handset designs Apple has been working on in reportedly includes a pair of screens joined by a hinge. The second option has a “flip phone” shape similar to the Samsung Galaxy Z Flip, with a flexible display inside. And supposedly that second option has now come out ahead.

Jon Prosser addressed the design process in Monday’s episode of his Front Page Tech YouTube show. “It seems that Apple has sort of made up their mind in terms of which direction to move towards,” he said, “and it’s leaning heavily in the favor of that clamshell phone.”

The video used to illustrate the leak shows a concept design for an “iPhone Flip” that folds horizontally, producing a tall-and-thin display. The device, if it goes beyond the concept stage, would be about half the size of a current iPhone, but open to reveal a full-size screen. And the display would be protected from scratches when not in use. Criticism of the design usually centers on it being thicker than present iOS handsets.

So many colors

Prosser goes on to say his unnamed sources predict the folding iPhone will come in multiple bright colors. Beyond just the look, this could be an indication of the price Apple is aiming for.

“Knowing that they’re hoping to offer this in multiple fun colors gives us an idea of what they’re actually trying to do with this device,” said the tipster. “Maybe they’re going to target a more fun, more mainstream market with this. Painting this as not necessarily a professional device but as a fun, unique iPhone experience.”

If true, that approach would stand in stark contrast to previous folding phones. When it debuted, the aforementioned Samsung Galaxy Z Flip started at $1,380, or about $300 more than any iPhone ever.

Don’t expect a folding iPhone anytime soon

Monday’s episode of Front Page Tech concludes with some bad news for those eager to get their hands on a folding iPhone. Prosser’s sources can’t give him an exact timeline on when Apple might release the product, but he’s confident it won’t be out in 2021 or 2022.

Beyond additional months to design a radically different iPhone, it’s possible the extra time is intended to drop the price of the bendable display that the proposed handset depends on. By 2023 or even later, perhaps it will be something that could go into a consumer-grade handset.

AppleTrack gives Prosser a 79.2% accuracy rating on previous predictions. That puts him in the top six of noted Apple prognosticators. Watch the full episode of Front Page Tech to see everything else he discussed, including the rumored Apple virtual-reality headset: