Apple has seemingly sent its manufacturing partner Foxconn with foldable iPhones for testing purposes. The report also claims that Apple is looking to launch its first foldable iPhone in September 2022.
The report based on supply chain sources claims that Apple is currently testing key components for the screen and bearings for its foldable iPhone. The foldable panel itself will be provided by Samsung to Apple, with Apple sourcing the bearing primarily from Nikko and others. In a foldable device, the bearing inside the hinge plays an important role.
Apple has asked Foxconn to test the endurance of this bearing as well over 100,000 times. In laptops, this bearing is tested around 20,000 to 30,000 times. Since foldable phones will be folded/unfolded far more frequently than laptops, the bearings inside them also need more rigorous testing. They also need to handle more rough usage which is why their reliability is very important.
Back in June this year, leaker Jon Prosser had claimed that Apple’s existing foldable iPhone prototype has “two separate panels on a hinge,” with the design of the device being similar to the iPhone 11 lineup. Despite two separate panels, the leaker had claimed the displays looked “fairly continuous and seamless.” Apple was also reported to have ordered foldable displays from Samsung in September this year.
Apple has filed a number of patents related to a foldable iPhone, but we have not heard or seen anything concrete so far that would confirm the existence of the device. It is clear, however, that Apple is indeed toying around with foldable iPhone prototypes, though whether the company ends up launching a foldable iPhone in 2022 or not is something that remains to be seen.