Apple CEO TIm Cook.
Apple
  • Apple's iPhone could get a completely different form factor in just two years.
  • A foldable iPhone is expected as early as 2023, according to a note from Apple analyst Ming-Chi Kuo.
  • The phone would be larger than ever — in the seven-to-eight inch range — according to Kuo.
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Apple's most important product, the iPhone, could be getting a major new form factor in the next few years.

A foldable iPhone could arrive as soon as 2023, according to a new note from Apple analyst Ming-Chi Kuo.

Given the new form factor, Kuo said the foldable iPhone could be in the seven-to-eight inch range, according to MacRumors. That would put it in line with the iPad Mini in terms of sheer size.

Notably, we've heard in other reports that Apple is looking into foldable screen concepts. The company has also patented a variety of foldable designs, though it's still unclear if any of those concepts will ever become reality.

Apple has yet to officially announce such a device, and company representatives didn't respond to a request for comment as of publishing.

Apple's main smartphone competitor, Samsung, has released several foldable devices in the past few years.

The most recent device, the Galaxy Z Fold 2, launched in September 2020. In addition to the novelty of a folding screen, Samsung's folding smartphones have all come with a hefty price tag.

It's possible that if Apple were to release such a device, it could come with a similarly large price tag. For now, it appears as if Apple is still considering whether creating such a device is worth doing in the first place.

Apple in recent years filed for several patents for foldable smartphone designs. Last year, the company was granted a patent for foldable-smartphone hinges. Those hinges would sit under the screen. 

Another Apple patent, "Foldable electronic device with exposed display region," included illustrations of folding phone screens. Those illustrations appeared to show an iPhone screen roughly the same shape as current iPhones, but with a horizontal hinge across its centre, allowing it to fold in half. As the patent said, the "pair of side platforms are switched between a flattened state and a folded state."

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