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Apple isn’t making a foldable iPhone anytime soon, so don’t get your hopes up

The foldable iPhone is coming! That’s according to a new Digitimes report, at least. The supply chain-monitoring publication is following the considerable ramp up of production in flexible OLED displays, noting that Samsung Display is aiming to produce 900,000 such panels per month — and even more in the future. The leap in logic then is that this increase in demand will only grow as Digitimes feels Apple is set to enter the foldable phone market in … 2022:

“Digitimes Research believes that Apple will likely step into the foldable smartphone sector in 2022, furthering demand for flexible OLED displays,” the report states.

Well, sure. That certainly could happen. It’s also two years away, and there are myriad reasons why it wouldn’t happen. Here’s the thing: It’s pretty easy to make a prediction about something happening two years from now in a rapidly advancing technology world, as there’s a great chance people will a) forget about the prediction or b) give you the benefit of the doubt considering technology evolves so rapidly.

Nobody has a track record of leaking Apple iPhone changes two whole years in advance. Not for small features, and definitely not for a complete form factor change. It’s quite unlikely that Digitimes is doing anything more than making an educated guess based on general industry trends.

Galaxy Z Fold 2
Andrew Martonik/Digital Trends

It’s also just such an easy prediction to make. Every single smartphone company has been testing foldable devices for years. They’d be silly not to, as it’s the next viable smartphone form factor change. The fact that we’ve only seen a few mass-production models from Samsung, Motorola and Huawei isn’t an indication that companies aren’t making them — it’s an indication that only those three have reached a quality and functionality threshold they’re happy with.

Apple undoubtedly has foldable iPhones in the engineering lab. Just like it’s had iPhones of every other possible shape and size, containing every piece of emerging tech as it comes on the market. Apple has some of the smartest minds in technology developing products for the company — they would be completely failing at their jobs if they weren’t investigating the possibility of a foldable iPhone.

Will we see a foldable iPhone introduced in 2022? There are clear issues with the current state of flexible displays, but there’s a good chance that by 2022 the technology will get to a point where even the perfectionists at Apple would be happy with it. But it certainly won’t be Apple’s only iPhone, and there’s little chance that it’d be the main iPhone for the year. And Apple would never put all of its eggs in one (foldable) basket — it could target launching such a phone very late in the year, and scrap it in favor of the “normal” iPhone it has in parallel development. Onward to 2023, then.

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Andrew Martonik
Andrew Martonik is the Editor in Chief at Digital Trends, leading a diverse team of authoritative tech journalists.
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