Does Apple Really Need a Foldable iPhone?

The company is apparently working on a couple prototypes

Blank turned on flexible clamshell phone display half folded mockup. It's been reported that Apple is working on a foldable iPhone.
Would you buy a foldable phone if Apple made it?
iStock / Getty Images Plus

Foldable phones are a fun but niche product, but most people will ignore the trend (and its inflated price point) until Apple gets in the game (replace “phone” with “mixed reality headset” and we could be talking about the new Apple Vision Pro). And according to a new report, the tech giant may actually be developing tech for an upcoming phone release. Per The Information, Apple is working on two prototypes of the iPhone that fold widthwise like a clamshell. If the prototypes come to market, it would mark the company’s most radical redesign of its core, decidedly rectangular and non-flexible product.

It’s not the first time Apple has attempted to make a foldable phone. Per TechCrunch, efforts seem to have started around 2018, or a year before Samsung released the Galaxy Fold. And a recent Vanity Fair profile on Apple CEO Tim Cook alluded to the company’s test rooms where foldable iPhone prototypes were being kept.

Apple May Put an E-Ink Display on Its Rumored Foldable Phone
While nothing’s confirmed, one trusted Apple analyst suggests the company is looking at e-ink for the foldable device’s cover screen

If the new prototypes are released as initially described, they’ll fold both closed at a 90-degree angle. A foldable iPad is also apparently in the works and more likely to be released before a phone, with Apple hoping to solve the dreaded “crease” found in most folding screens.

The real question is, does anyone need or want this? It doesn’t really seem to fit within Apple’s aesthetic. However, there appears to be modest enthusiasm amongst Apple fanboys, if you peruse the responses to an informal poll from AppleInsider’s X account. The most accurate reaction could probably be summed up by user Roz Hall, as seen here:

The InsideHook Newsletter.

News, advice and insights for the most interesting person in the room.