Rumors that Apple is working on a new folding iPhone are nothing new. I wrote about a report on Apple testing folding screen prototypes from Samsung from the Chinese-language site EDN back in November. However, when such reports come from Mark Gurman at Bloomberg, it’s worth a lot closer consideration.
Ultimately, this article from doesn’t have that much new information. He does tell us that his sources don’t think development is that far along, going as far as saying that there isn’t a working prototype yet. Apple is still in the phase of testing out screens and working on form factors. In other words, an actual device wouldn’t come earlier than 2022 or 23.
While the slow progress is a small letdown. I’m not that surprised. Apple isn’t known for jumping into a new area this early. However, just the fact that Bloomberg is reporting on this is solid confirmation that Apple is seriously considering joining the foldable phone market. That alone is good news to me. After trying out both the Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 2 and the Microsoft Surface Duo last year and ultimately letting go of both because of the crazy prices for hardware and software that aren’t all the way there, I would love to see what Apple does in this space.
Gurman also touched on a few products that are coming from Apple in 2021. First off, he mentions that this year’s iPhone will be a small update and may even go back to the old S moniker. We may get under-screen TouchID, which Apple has reportedly been working on for a while now and other competing manufacturers have already released. Hopefully Apple will also at least slim down the notch this year as well, but Gurman didn’t mention that, so maybe not.
This report also alludes to another article where Gurman talks about Apple’s coming Macs for 2021. There will be a newly redesigned iMac with a more squared design and much slimmer bezels around the screen, which should prove to be VERY popular. We should also be getting 14″ and 16″ MacBook Pros with even more powerful M-series processors. There is one key mention of the new MacBooks in Gurman’s iPhone article- the return of MagSafe to Apple’s laptops. That feature has been sorely missed by Apple fans since the company moved to only USB-C ports and should prove to be very popular when it returns this year.
Gurman also threw in a little additional confirmation on two iPad predictions for this year. He mentions the miniLED iPad Pro, which is all but a given at this point. He doesn’t talk about the Mini, but he did say that a new base model iPad with a slimmer iPad Air 3 design should also be released in 2021. That device was rumored recently, but just as with folding phones, Gurman talking about it is a different matter, entirely.
One last thing worth mentioning is a comment about ongoing issues with product development at Apple:
The Covid-19 pandemic has also complicated product development, with Apple hardware engineers only working at the company’s Silicon Valley offices a few days a week and in limited numbers. That has meant offloading work to Apple’s engineers in China.
Last year, the pandemic delayed the iPhone 12’s release by several weeks, but Apple was able to still include nearly every intended feature except an accessory dubbed “AirTags” for locating physical items like backpacks and keys. The company now plans to launch that accessory this year, and it is planning multiple accessories for it including a leather keychain. Samsung announced a similar gizmo earlier this month.
We’ve known this was a major issue last year, but it’s a bit concerning that COVID-19 is still negatively impacting development at Apple. Gurman wouldn’t be talking about it after mentioning how minor the update to the iPhone will be if that weren’t the case. I guess it shouldn’t be a surprise, as infection rates in the US continue to be a problem and vaccine distribution is slow moving. It looks like it will be 2022 before things really return to normal at Apple.