Unlike several of its rivals such as Samsung and Huawei, Apple is yet to release a foldable phone, although it’s rumoured to be working on one.
Now, YouTubers in China have created an impressive prototype that shows an iPhone that folds down a central hinge in the screen.
The prototype, called iPhone V, was built by engineers using an iPhone X and the folding mechanism from Motorola’s Razr.
iPhone V, which took more than 200 days and thousands of dollars to make, also has silver iPhone lettering on the hinge and the iconic Apple icon on the back.
Just like other foldable phones already on the market, the ‘iPhone V’ folds down a central hinge in the screen
The Chinese engineering team borrowed a folding mechanism from Motorola’s Razr, released in 2020
FOLDABLE PHONE MODELS
Galaxy Z Flip, Galaxy Z Fold
Motorola Razr 2022
P50 Pocket, Mate X2
Mix Fold 2
Of the world’s top seven smartphone manufacturers, six of them have already introduced folding screens – Samsung, Motorola, Huawei, Oppo, Xiaomi and Vivo – but the seventh, Apple, has not.
Chinese YouTube channel Technological Aesthetics posted the video, which details the laborious months-long mission to build the device.
‘It took more than 200 days of effort, and at great cost,’ said Na Yan at Technological Aesthetics. ‘In the days to come we want to continue to improve the foldable iPhone.’
Overall, the iPhone V looks similar to Samsung’s Galaxy Z Flip, which flips open like a retro 90s phone thanks to a horizontal hinge through the middle of the screen.
But the team used iPhone X, an iPhone model that’s already five years old, to transform it into a modern-looking flip phone running iOS 16.
Engineers used the phone’s OLED display, which itself is flexible, although in iPhones it’s covered in hard outer glass.
The team also rearranged the iPhone X’s inner components to be able to fold it and borrowed the folding axis structure from the Motorola Razr, although they did consider using the mechanism from Samsung’s Galaxy Z Flip.
Unlike several of its rivals such as Samsung and Huawei, Apple is yet to release a foldable phone, although it’s rumoured to be working on one
The team used iPhone X (pictured), an iPhone model that’s already five years old, to transform it into a modern-looking flip phone
The engineers admit the result is a pretty ‘rudimentary prototype’, as it has several issues that became clear after limited periods of use.
For example, there are gaps when folding, and after a few days of use there are horizontal creases and bubbles under the screen that ‘can’t be fixed’.
What’s more, if it’s fully closed the whole screen is damaged irreversibly.
It also uses a 1,000mAh battery compared with the 4,352mAh battery on the iPhone 13 Pro Max, so it barely lasts a day.
However, overall, the team claim to have technically created ‘the world’s first foldable iPhone’, potentially years before Apple officially releases one.
Apple appears to have registered patents for a foldable phone, similar to a flip phone, with a horizontal hinge through the middle.
in 2019, Apple filed a patent showing off what appears to be a folding phone. In the patent, a device can be seen folding closed, similar to a flip phone, via a hinge in the middle
But these were filed years ago, and Apple’s recent iPhone models have no design features to suggest it’s going down the foldable route anytime soon.
Ben Wood, an analyst at CCS Insight, previously said that there is ‘really no need’ for Apple to move in the foldable direction at present.
‘You can be sure that it has had flexible display technology in its labs for the last decade,’ he told MailOnline.
‘But at present there is no commercial imperative for Apple to take the risk of piling into a niche market when the iPhone is so unbelievably successful.’
Rival Samsung released its latest generation of foldable phones – the Galaxy Z Fold 4 and the Galaxy Z Flip 4 – in August.
In August, Samsung released the Galaxy Z Flip 4 (pictured) which can stay open at various angles without snapping shut
Motorola’s reinvented Razr flip mobile has a 6.2 inch foldable screen, which bends in half to shut in the same way as older ‘clamshell’ handsets
Meanwhile, Motorola released its second-generation Motorola Razr in China this year and is in the process of rolling it out around Europe.
Motorola took inspiration from its original ‘clamshell’ Razr flip to create the pocket-sized flip phone that folds down a horizontal crease.
Meanwhile, the more recently released Huawei Mate X2 features a dual-screen design very similar to the Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 2.
SAMSUNG REVEALS THE GALAXY FLIP 4 AND GALAXY FOLD 4 AT ITS ‘UNPACKED EVENT’ – AND PRICES GO UP TO A COLOSSAL £2,019
Samsung has launched two new foldable smartphones with flexible glass that folds down the middle of the screen, including its most expensive device yet.
The Korean tech giant lifted the lid on several new products at its Unpacked event on August 10, including the Galaxy Z Fold 4.
Galaxy Z Fold 4 comes with a new taskbar along the bottom of the phone, giving a more ‘PC like experience’ where users can easily see their apps.
It comes with as much as 1TB of storage – but for a colossal £2,019.
At the firm’s Unpacked event on August 10, the Korean tech giant lifted the lid on the Galaxy Z Fold 4, its most expensive smartphone yet
Just like its predecessors, the Galaxy Z Fold 4 has a vertical hinge down the middle and essentially acts as a 2-in-1 device
Samsung has also launched the Galaxy Z Flip 4, which flips open like a retro 90s phone thanks to a horizontal hinge through the middle of the screen.
Galaxy Z Flip 4 starts at £999 for 125GB of storage and goes up to £1,199 for 512GB of storage.
Flip 4’s main screen measures 6.7 inches, while the smaller cover screen on the outside is 1.9 inch, like last year’s Flip 3.
Galaxy Flip 4 also includes a 65 per cent brighter sensor for better photos, the ability to take selfies when closed and increased battery size.
Flip 4 comes in either Graphite, Bora Purple, Pink Gold or Blue, while Fold 4 comes in Phantom Black, Grey Green or Beige.
Samsung has also launched the Galaxy Z Flip 4, which flips open like a retro 90s phone thanks to a horizontal hinge through the middle of the screen
Both of the smartphone models are 5G compatible, come with IPX8 water resistance and can be folded and unfolded more than 200,000 times.
James Manning Smith, senior analyst at CCS Insight, said the Flip 4 and Fold 4 ‘will be almost indistinguishable from their predecessors to most consumers’.
‘Although Samsung may be criticised for this, it makes sense to take an iterative approach given foldables devices are currently such as small segment of the overall smartphone market,’ he said.
‘In most cases, a consumer buying one of Samsung’s new devices will be getting one for the first time so won’t really have anything to compare it with.’
Samsung has also announced the Galaxy Watch 5 and Galaxy Watch 5 Pro, their most durable smartwatches yet.
Samsung has also announced the Galaxy Watch 5 and Galaxy Watch 5 Pro, their most durable smartwatches yet
Both have a new improved battery life, and are made from stronger and sturdier materials.
They have scratch-resistant glass and are 60 per cent stronger and more durable than the Watch 4.
It’s also revealed the Galaxy Buds 2 Pro, with better sound and call quality and active noise cancellation.
Samsung has also revealed the Galaxy Buds 2 pro, with better sound and call quality and active noise cancellation
Samsung’s original folding device – the Galaxy Fold – was years in the making from its initial idea and patent stages.
It was released in September 2019, following technical troubles that held up its worldwide launch, including reports of broken displays after only a few days of use.
The first generation Galaxy Z Flip was released in February 2020, although it was superseded six months later by a 5G-compatible version.
Samsung’s key smartphone rivals – Apple and Google – are yet to release a foldable device.