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We might finally know when Apple’s first foldable iPhone will be released

Rumors about Apple’s first foldable iPhone keep popping up, with a new report from Korea providing a tentative release date for the handset. Apple will reportedly start selling the handset in September 2026, which is actually sooner than I thought.

More surprising is the claim that Apple might move some of the engineers working on the Vision Pro to the foldable iPhone. The problem here is that the source doesn’t have an established track record for Apple rumors.

That said, there’s been an increase in foldable iPhone rumors recently, which indicates something might be afoot. Apple has been developing foldable devices for years, and we might be nearing an actual product launch.

Earlier this month, a report from The Information claimed Apple is developing two clamshell foldable iPhones. Separately, a report from Korean news outlet The Elec said Apple has been eying 2026 or 2027 for releasing a foldable device about the same size as the iPad mini.

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Then, a few days later, a noted leaker from Korea said that Samsung is developing new technologies for the Galaxy Z Fold 6 that Apple might then use in a foldable iPhone

After that, an influencer from China said on Weibo that Apple had paused foldable iPhone development, as some of the foldable displays it received from suppliers failed its strict durability tests. I explained at the time why such a report makes sense. If Apple has been developing the foldable iPhone since 2020, it must have “paused” development every time a foldable display, a hinge mechanism, or an enclosure failed its requirements. 

Foldable iPhone release time frame rumor

I expect Apple’s first foldable iPhone to be a kind of device that “fixes” issues with current foldable devices. I put fixes in quotes because Apple likes to add certain features to its products only when it thinks they’re ready — even if that means rolling features out much later than the competition. 

If a foldable iPhone does arrive in 2026 or 2027, it would come almost a decade after the first Galaxy Fold model. 

Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 5A clamshell foldable iPhone would look a lot like the Galaxy Z Flip design. Image source: José Adorno for BGR

All that context is important for the newest foldable iPhone rumor. Korean outlet Alphabiz reports that it has learned about Apple’s plans for its first foldable phone. 

Apple reportedly plans to launch the first foldable iPhone in September 2026. The company hopes to sell some 50 million units globally in the first year, according to the report. Such a figure would dwarf Samsung’s foldable phone sales by a huge margin. 

The timeframe makes sense in the context I mentioned, though 2027 would be more logical for Apple’s first foldable iPhone. That’s when Apple will celebrate the iPhone’s 20th anniversary. What better way to do that than with a big iPhone redesign?

Taking people from the Vision Pro team is odd

What is strange about the report is the mention of the Vision Pro. The anonymous “official” who supposedly leaked Apple’s iPhone plans claims that Apple has moved a large number of people on the Vision Pro team to the foldable iPhone project. 

The Vision Pro is a big deal for the company. I think it’s the precursor of something even bigger than a foldable iPhone. AR glasses that connect directly to the iPhone. But it’ll take a much longer time to get there. We’ll probably have foldable iPhones in our pockets before the AR glasses I want from Apple arrive.

If anything, a foldable iPhone would work great with AR glasses. You’d take it out of the pocket less often than you do now. The phone would stay folded and secure most of the time, while taking up less space than a traditional iPhone.

Apple will continue to make Vision Pro spatial computers until that happens, aiming to fix some of the issues with the first-gen device. If reports are accurate, the Vision Pro 2 will launch in some 18 months. Therefore, in the second half of 2025, or about a year ahead of the foldable iPhone. 

Can Apple spare Vision Pro staff and move them to the foldable iPhone? We might never learn the answer to this question. But if foldable iPhone rumors keep picking up, it’ll be an indication that a launch is near. After all, in the years preceding the Vision Pro announcement, the rumors were louder and louder.

I will also say that the foldable iPhone will be a sophisticated device in terms of design engineering. The Vision Pro team would have some experience with sophisticated design and engineering choices.

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