Foldable iPhone unlikely before 2027 | Samsung Galaxy Z Flip shown

A report last month suggested that we might see the first foldable iPhone in 2026, but market intelligence company TrendForce has described this as “unlikely.”

The company, which monitors and forecasts demand for components, says that 2027 is the earliest date Apple is likely to launch a folding iPhone …

The unfolding of previous foldable iPhone reports

Reports of a foldable iPhone date back many years, with the launch of a succession of folding Android phones only fanning the flames.

We’ve noted many times before that Apple is taking its usual wait-and-see approach where foldables are concerned, letting rivals like Samsung suffer all the problems that go along with trying to be on the bleeding edge of new tech.

Samsung provided a case study of the perils of launching a new technology too early, with the launch of the first Galaxy Fold model proving to be a complete disaster. While pre-orders went well, it was just 48 hours before major problems were found as reviewers tested the device. Samsung initially said it was delaying the launch until May before it canceled pre-orders. The company then talked about a July launch, before canceling that too.

It did finally launch, but even by the fourth iteration our sister site 9to5Google found that the biggest flaw was still very much present: The screen cracked within days of arrival!

We’ve seen a series of dates suggested, including 2025 and – most recently – 2026.

TrendForce says unlikely before 2027

TrendForce reports that folding phones are still very much a niche product, making up only 1.5% of the smartphone market in 2024.

It does predict that the segment will grow, but not dramatically. It forecasts market penetration of 4.8% by 2028.

It says Apple is still only at the stage of checking out potential components.

TrendForce notes that Apple is still evaluating component specifications and performance, with strict requirements for crease and reliability. Apple is unlikely to release a foldable phone before 2027, but its entry could significantly shift market dynamics.

Creasing appears to be the big sticking point

While there are some dual-screen devices with a bezel between them, most folding devices use a single flexible screen. The big issue Android brands have struggled with is the crease.

Not only is a visible crease unsightly when unfolded, but it risks breaking when repeatedly folded and unfolded, as well as being vulnerable to damage from small pieces of trapped debris – even dust.

It’s long been believed that Apple isn’t yet satisfied with any of the folding screen tech it has evaluated, and the TrendForce report seems to support this view.

Photo by Zana Latif on Unsplash

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