Foldable iPhone might launch in 2026, look like an iPad mini – BGR

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When Apple refreshed the iPad mini in September 2021, I said the iPad mini 6 was essentially an iPhone 13 Pro that’s begging to be folded. The device featured a big redesign, with Apple announcing it alongside the iPhone 13 series. At the time, the iPad mini 6 was the second most powerful iPad in Apple’s lineup, rocking the same A15 Bionic chip that Apple used for the iPhone 13 phones.
At the time, Samsung had already launched the Galaxy Z Fold 3, a device that would be about as big as an iPad mini. And sporadic rumors detailed Apple’s growing interest in foldables.

More than two years later, we have a fresh report from Korea that says Apple is looking to launch a foldable device in 2026 or 2027. The gadget will seemingly feature a 7-inch to 8-inch foldable display and could be about as big as the iPad mini. It’s unclear whether the Apple foldable device might replace the iPad mini, or if it might be part of the iPhone lineup. Apple is reportedly working on an OLED version of the mini as well.
The current iPad mini features an 8.3-inch display, and it’s my favorite iPad size and design. Apple will reportedly launch an iPad mini 7 this year, featuring the same overall design but improved specs. 
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Korean outlet The Elec has learned that Apple is considering a 2026 or 2027 release date for a foldable device that would be about the same size as the iPad Mini. The report doesn’t call it a phone. Previous rumors said that Apple’s first foldable device might be a tablet rather than an iPhone. 
I might be a longtime iPhone user, but I’m also fascinated by foldable devices. And I keep dreaming of a foldable iPhone.
The Elec points out that 2027 would mark the 20th anniversary of the iPhone and the 10th anniversary of the first iPhone with an OLED panel. The latter isn’t really a cause for celebration. The 2017 iPhone X had to be different because Apple celebrated the handset’s 10th anniversary. And the OLED screen is what allowed Apple to make an all-screen display. 
However, making a foldable iPhone in 2027 to mark the iPhone’s 20th anniversary would be a big deal. It would mean Apple thinks foldable screen tech is finally mature enough to be used in its own devices.

The report also notes that Samsung and LG are both working with Apple to provide foldable OLED panels that would equip such devices. They’re also discussing with Apple technologies like the hinge and the Ultra Thin Glass (UTG) technology. 
We’ve seen UTG panels before, as Samsung introduced them a few years ago for its own foldables. UTG glass panels are what protect the OLED display instead of the plastic panels from early foldable generations. 
Apparently, the development talks involve different opinions on hinge and UTG design. It’s unclear what these opinions are, but they’re related to durability and reliability. The hinge and foldable panel atop the OLED display are key technology innovations for foldable devices. Samsung recently won a patent that describes a new hinge design that could let it manufacture its thinnest-ever Galaxy Z Fold handset.
The report also notes that Samsung would be best positioned to manufacture the foldable OLED screens for Apple should the company go for a 2026 launch. However, Apple might be working closely with LG on foldable panel tech. Apple reportedly wants more than a supplier of foldable screens.
The 20th iPhone anniversary is not the only reason to suspect Apple’s first foldable device will be an iPhone. The report also notes that Apple is working on a larger foldable Mac/iPad type of device. This contraption would rock a 20.5-inch foldable screen. 

The Elec even provides a tentative release schedule for these products. The foldable iPhone/iPad mini will reportedly launch in 2026 or 2027. An OLED Macbook would follow after that. Then, Apple would go forward with a 20.5-inch foldable tablet. And, again, an OLED iPad mini might be in development as well. 
None of this is official, of course. We’re several years away from seeing these rumored devices become a reality, if they’re even released at all. But this report further indicates that Apple’s interest in foldable devices might be real. 
Meanwhile, Apple will update its iPad lines this year, starting with OLED iPad Pro models and the iPad Air 6. 
Chris Smith has been covering consumer electronics ever since the iPhone revolutionized the industry in 2008. When he’s not writing about the most recent tech news for BGR, he brings his entertainment expertise to Marvel’s Cinematic Universe and other blockbuster franchises.
Outside of work, you’ll catch him streaming almost every new movie and TV show release as soon as it’s available.
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