Apple Flip Phone: Everything We Know About the iPhone Flip
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Apple single-handedly invented the smartphone industry with the release of the iPhone in 2007. But before there was the smartphone, there was the flip phone. To capitalize on nostalgia for flip functionality, many manufacturers have released smart flip phones in recent years, Apple excluded. However, an Apple flip phone may be on the horizon if the rumors are right. Read on to discover more about what we know about the so-called iPhone Flip.
What Will the iPhone Flip Look Like?
Apple products are known for their sleek designs, so people are curious about the iPhone Flip’s form factor (that’s phone lingo for size, shape, and style). According to some sources, Apple has tested two different iPhone Flip designs. One is a foldout hybrid tablet like the Samsung Galaxy Z Fold line. Another is closer to the Google Pixel Fold, a clamshell flip smartphone.
Apple may choose either design in the long run, although recent patent filings may hint at the eventual iPhone Flip’s true look and functionality. For example, 2020 saw an Apple patent for a joint operating mode, which theoretically lets a single-screen device see its functionality supplemented with a secondary display attached via magnetic connections. Another patent filed in 2018 is for a device with a flexible display that folds up while retaining a small notification strip at the bottom of the device for contextual info.
Some crazier patents filed by Apple include one for a tri-folding display. Even as far back as 2016, the company was filing patents for older iPhone variations and vertical folding handsets similar to the modern Motorola Razr series.
Potential iPhone Flip Looks
Several speculators and designers have imagined what a future iPhone Flip might look like. One design comes from concept designer 4RMD, who imagines the iPhone Flip as a flip-style phone with a 6.8-inch screen when unfolded. An outer exterior display allows users to access the phone's basic functions while it is folded up, plus see notifications quickly.
All the discussion around the design has also been complicated by iPhone Flip rumors that Apple has talked with Samsung and LG to get the flexible displays needed for a future phone device. We’ve yet to find out if this means that the iPhone Flip will take a page out of Samsung’s book in terms of foldable phone design.
Remember, it's always possible that Apple will take the Samsung route and create two different devices with foldable displays — an iPhone Flip/Fold and an iPad Fold.
What Display Specs Could the iPhone Flip Feature?
Any hypothetical iPhone Flip will need to have a stellar display to be worth consumers’ money. Some iPhone Flip rumors suggest that the first foldable iPhone will have a display of eight inches or more, which would make the device larger than the Galaxy Z Fold4’s 7.6-inch display when unfolded.
One recent patent granted to Apple enables the development of touch-sensitive control areas, which include solid-state buttons on iPhone surfaces. This may enable a future Apple flip phone to have touch sensitivity on every side and edge of future iPhones, regardless of whether those devices can fold or not.
Industry analysts believe Apple may be considering using colorized e-ink displays for the exterior screens on foldable devices. While these wouldn’t be as reactive as LCD or OLED panels, they would reduce battery consumption and potentially allow more functionalities later.
Regarding other features and display specs, industry standards like high-resolution screens, long battery life, and smooth video playback on the exterior and interior screens are expected. A future Apple flip phone could have a smaller screen or set of screens relative to other foldable devices. Once again, however, details have yet to be released by Apple or industry insiders.
Will the iPhone Flip Be Durable?
Any future Apple flip phone will need to be built to last. Some patents, filed as early as October 2020, suggest that a future iPhone Flip will be created with an upgraded iPhone ceramic shield, resulting in better exterior durability. By necessity, this ceramic shield would need to be modified to work with a flexible display and may include up to four layers.
February 2020 saw another Apple patent that may allow a foldable phone display to bend in the middle without stressing the panel or causing long-term damage. This could result in a foldable or flip phone that curves instead of creasing or folding in half. Such a development would result in a durable Apple flip phone and likely inspire broader changes across the industry.
Of course, the phone will run on the iOS operating system, but it will likely have some changes that make it competitive with other folding phones, like the Samsung Galaxy Z Flip4. If there is a folding iPhone in the future, it will have new features that set it apart from earlier iterations, like the iPhone 13 — or even tablets like the iPad Mini.
How Much Will the iPhone Flip Cost?
Though we don’t have iPhone Flip price details from Apple, we can look at similar flip phones for clues. For example, the Galaxy Fold debuted for almost $2,000 with a 7.3-inch interior display when unfolded. Six months later, the Samsung Galaxy Z Flip launched for about $1,400.
Apple could try to undercut the competition and release an affordable foldable handset. For instance, the iPhone 14 Pro Max was released for nearly $1,100, and a flip phone from the same manufacturer could be around this price point.
Ultimately, it’s unlikely that Apple will release a flip phone for over $2,000, as doing so would make the device the most expensive in the Apple lineup. Want to find the best iPhone deals on currently available devices? Answer a few quick questions below to see the latest offers you’re eligible for from top wireless providers.
When Will the iPhone Flip Be Released?
Current iPhone users are most curious about when a future Apple flip phone might be released. The company has released no official statements, so we can only speculate.
Regarding release dates, a late 2024 launch is possible, but there are no promises here. This gives Apple enough time to announce the phone in the spring and summer of the same year and then work out any kinks or issues before bringing the phone to the general public. However, analyst Ming-Chi Kuo expects Apple to announce the phone in 2025. Until then, if you’re in the market for a new smartphone, you can use Navi’s unbiased, free Phone Finder to help you find the best phone deals available now, including the most up-to-date offers on iPhones and smart flip phones from other manufacturers.