A Chinese YouTube channel has managed to create the first functioning, foldable iPhone in the world.
YouTube channel 科技美学 (Technological Aesthetics) recently uploaded a video of an engineer using custom parts to create a working foldable iPhone.
The ability to fold is a novel feature in modern smartphones that brands such as Samsung, Motorola and Huawei have explored in recent years.
Apple, however, has yet to adapt the technology, which involves screens that need to be both flexible and durable to withstand mechanical stress.
In the clip, which has been viewed over 450,000 times, an engineer is seen testing different parts and configurations to build a working prototype they dubbed as the “iPhone V.”
The process, which involved the dismantling of dozens of iPhone Xs to get the necessary components and finding additional parts from other phones, reportedly took 200 days to complete.
An integral part of the prototype was the iPhone’s screen, which the engineer managed to craft to be flexible enough to bend while retaining the most functionality possible.
They also needed a casing with a hinge that could work with the iPhone’s components. They initially considered the Galaxy Z Flip hinge but settled on the one used by the Motorola Razr, which worked better due to its slimmer display crease.
To complete the prototype, some parts were either customized, replaced or removed entirely.
They added 3D-printed parts and a custom 1000mAh battery, which has a third of a normal current iPhone’s capacity. They also had to remove one speaker as well as the wireless charging and MagSafe components.
While Apple’s proprietary operating system iOS reportedly worked fine, they had to install a custom software to make the phone recognize the foldable display.
The prototype was able to fold as intended while keeping the touch functionality intact. However, the screen failed to withstand the stress from repeated folding and soon broke after just days of use.
According to the YouTuber behind the channel, they intend to further improve the prototype and asked their audience for feedback and recommendations.
Despite the limitations of the first foldable iPhone prototype, commenters commended the creators for their work.
“Incredible work and your endurance finally paid off for the world to see,” a commenter wrote. “Kudos to your team.”
“There’s nothing better than people doing extreme things for no reason but curiosity and desire to achieve a goal,” another user said. “I can see the passion, this was probably the most inspiring video I’ve seen recently.”
“An absolute work of genius,” wrote another. “Congratulations on this great success!”