Does Apple plan to release an iPhone or iPad with a foldable screen? If so, the company doesn’t seem to be in a rush to release it. Instead of jumping ship to Android to jump on the folding screen bandwagon, a group of talented Chinese engineers complaints they have together hacked the world’s first foldable iPhoneand it looks like it was a real nightmare to build.
Now we understand all the advantages of a mobile device with a folding screen. When folded, it can be as compact as a smartphone (or even the flip cell phones of yesteryear), making it easy to carry in a pocket, and when open, it offers twice more screen real estate, making videos more immersive and web pages looking like they do on a computer.
Screens that can bend in half without breaking seem totally futuristic, but they aren’t completely durable, and after a while flexible OLED panels will start to show creases and other damage. That’s probably a big reason why Apple doesn’t offer a folding screen device yet, but there are other compromises that also come into play on a device that essentially splits in half when folded, as the hardware hackers behind the YouTube Channel, The Aesthetics of Science and Technologydiscovered.
For memory, we haven’t had a chance to see or test this bespoke foldable iPhone in person, and this 17-plus-minute video could very well be an elaborate prank. Pretending to have iOS running on an existing folding screen device is much easier than building a folding iPhone, and there are a few steps in this video that are quickly glossed over, such as the complexity of rearranging the electronic innards of an iPhone so that it fits into two halves of a folding case, without iOS worrying about the sheer amount of hardware modifications required. But hacking an iPhone is far from impossibleand we’re inclined to believe this awesome hack is real, even if the results aren’t an everyday device use.
The bifurcated iPhone body was created through a combination of custom 3D printed components and parts salvaged from a pair of folding Motorola Razr smartphones whose hinge mechanism leaves about seven millimeters of space inside.
This was significant because instead of designing and engineering a custom OLED display for their foldable iPhone, which companies like Samsung are doing to improve durability, these hackers repurposed the static display from an iPhone X. it is flexible enough to bend in half required separating the different layers of the display, allowing for the complete removal of the rigid glass panel on the front and the 3D touch layer underneath. This step seems simple enough, but it was actually the hardest part of this hack, requiring 37 original iPhone X screens before successfully separating all the layers without causing damage.
The final device, which hackers call the iPhone V 0.1 due to its complexity, works, but requires the use of a much smaller battery, a single speaker, and MagSafe and wireless charging. . Its screen, and some of the custom wiring inside needed to accommodate the hinge, is extremely fragile, and this first attempt is more or less a display piece, as it probably wouldn’t survive regular use of a daytime.
Thanks to an iOS jailbreak, they’ve customized the iPhone’s operating system to be more compatible with a foldable screen, including split-screen capabilities, but don’t expect this team to get into making any Foldable iPhones. If hacking wasn’t expensive enough already, the answer from Apple’s legal team would be.
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