Apple's first foldable device might not be an iPhone no matter how much you want it to be

A new report, citing supply chain sources, claims that Apple's first foldable device won't be a foldable iPhone but rather something larger.

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With Samsung, Google, and countless other Android manufacturers already producing new foldable phones at a rate of knots it's surely only a matter of time before Apple joins the fray with a foldable iPhone. We've been hearing rumors to that effect for a long time now, but so far, Apple has refused to actually ship anything - although we have to imagine that it has been prototyping foldable iPhones for years. Now, a new report claims that's indeed the case except they aren't foldable iPhones at all.

Instead, the report claims that the devices Apple has been working on are something entirely different. Larger than an iPhone, the new foldable devices are more likely to be something akin to a tablet or notebook computer. That's according to supply chain sources speaking as part of a paywalled DigiTimes report picked up by MacRumors.

Apple's first foldable device might not be an iPhone no matter how much you want it to be 02

The report goes on to claim that Apple has been developing the device for at least five years with design efforts now said to be converging ahead of plans to enter mass production. It isn't clear what the product will actually be nor how Apple will market it, however.

Apple's reluctance to enter the foldable fray has long been a bone of contention for technology fans, but it's the state of foldable display mechanisms that is thought to have caused Apple some concern. Displays that fold inevitably have creases down the middle and it's thought that Apple has been keen to wait for technology to advance enough to almost eliminate such creases. Advancements made in hinge technology have meant that creases have shrunk considerably in recent years, but it remains to be seen if Apple has something new up its sleeve that makes its first foldable particularly impressive in this regard.

As for timescales, it's now thought that Apple will not launch any kind of foldable phone, tablet, or notebook computer before 2025 at the earliest. The company is also thought to be working full steam ahead with multiple departments involved in the project.

Apple of course now has a little more bandwidth than it previously did. With the company hard at work on getting the Apple Vision Pro mixed reality headset out the door, there was only so much room for big projects. Now that the Apple Vision Pro is on sale, it's possible Apple can now move some engineers and development resources towards making its first play in the world of foldable devices - whether that's a foldable iPhone or not.

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Based in the UK, Oliver has been writing about technology, entertainment, and games for more than a decade. If there's something with a battery or a plug, he's interested. After spending too much money building gaming PCs, Oliver switched to Apple and the Mac - and now spends too much on those instead.

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