Apple is scheduled to launch a new iPhone series in the fall event next month. Rumors strongly indicate this will be the iPhone 13 lineup. Fanboys may have held their hopes high to see the announcement of a foldable iPhone, but that’s not going to transpire anytime soon. The Cupertino tech giant is still far from introducing something in this form factor. Even though its fiercest competitor Samsung has just ousted two new foldable phones: one each in Flip and Fold designs.
Samsung unveiled its third-generation foldable smartphones at the recently concluded Galaxy Unpacked event this week. The duo – introduced alongside the Galaxy Watch 4 series and the Galaxy Buds 2 – includes the Galaxy Z Fold 3 and the Galaxy Z Flip 3. These are clearly the best foldable smartphones to bet your money on in the near future until maybe Apple can follow suit with a version of its own.
Going by the past record, Apple has been a slow adopter of new innovations in hardware, but when it forays into the industry, there is no looking back. The stage is set for Apple to pull off what it does best.
Samsung may be the uncrowned king in the foldable phone kingdom; Motorola and Huawei have shown some competition and OnePlus is teasing a possibility as well. In such a scenario, you’d as a fan expect Apple to step up on the gas.
According to various insiders and industry experts, there have been varying claims on when the foldable iPhone will launch. There have been rumors of the phone making its debut as early as next year, but claim from Bloomberg’s Mark Gurman (who has a sound record in Apple product predictions), the folding phone from Apple is not going to happen before the next two to three years. Now that’s not any one of us wants!
Previous sales figures and Samsung’s resilience to deliver foldable devices year on year are clear indicators that the foldable smartphones have huge market potential. As the form of media consumption alters and on-the-go working becomes a bigger trend than before, having a tablet-esque screen in the pocket will have its own advantage. Should Apple launch a folding iPhone in the near future, it will be a perfect fit.
Arguably, Apple has a deep-rooted interest in delivering a foldable phone to challenge the likes of Samsung, Motorola and others. The intent is vaguely presented in rumors and patents so it’s unclear whether Apple will prefer to Fold or Flip its smartphone. It is, however, clear since the tech giant is taking its own sweet time, the foldable iPhone will crease out all niggles of the foldable phones and take a revolutionary stride forward, whenever it sees the light of day.
The most recent rumors originating after a recent set of videos deliver a foldable iPhone in clamshell style flipping form factor. There’s nothing officially known from Apple, but these convincing renders do generate interest in the iPhone Flip concept.
It’s a no-brainer that there was no mention of the iPhone foldable in the Worldwide Developers Conference nor a reference is expected in the fall event, so whatever we are seeing in renders, videos and through projected expectations is only speculation and nothing concrete. Nonetheless, these are near-real representations of what iPhone Flip might look like, if there is something of sorts in the works, are enticing.
Look and feel
Foldable iPhone is on the cards but a very insignificant number of times have we read or seen a book-like folding iPhone design. Notably, the flip design is what Apple is likely to prefer.
Rumors note, such a device is in the early stage of development and things could change over the course of time. According to tipster Jon Prosser, Apple has tested both the book-like foldable device and a clamshell flip phone similar to the Galaxy Z Flip series.
Apple analyst Ming-Chi Kuo has predicted the foldable iPhone could roll out with a large 8-inch folding display. Delivering that size screen – which is even bigger than the 7.6-inch inner display of the new Galaxy Z Fold 3 – is slightly unimaginable. For contrast, the Z Flip 3 (a closer competitor to the Flip iPhone) has a 6.7-inch foldable screen with a 1.9-inch secondary display on the outside.
Before arriving at the Flip concept, which seems close to real, Apple has been through a set of options for a foldable device. The first patent from the tech company in this space was published back in 2016. As the years passed, few other patents – not specifically for foldable phones – did rounds. Apple proposed a patent application for a device with hinges that fold in half or in thirds. It also suggested a different spin to the foldable smartphones with a patent for self-healing skin.
These options seem distant from the tried and tested designs, so we assume the deviation is unlikely, at least in the debut model. Reportedly, Apple has begun testing the feasibility of a foldable smartphone with a flexible screen – being developed by Samsung – suggesting a device in recognizable form factor is definitely what we should be predicting.
A report from Digitimes earlier in the year had predicted the iPhone Flip to launch as early as next year. This is way too early and there’s nothing concrete to base the projection on. Ming-Chi in a separate prediction reveals 2023 as the year for the launch of Apple’s first foldable smartphone. This possibility aligns with Mark Gurman’s claim of Apple foldable iPhone launching in two to three years’ time.
Considering the hypothetical timing, we are talking about at least two or more generations of Galaxy Folds and Flips before the first foldable iPhone can flip into shape. What novelty will Apple pull out from its kitty through the course of time is anybody’s guess. Aligning with Apple’s track record, it will be a device flashed in Apple’s polish and finesse, unquestionably.
With the introduction of sturdier, neater and waterproof Galaxy Z Fold 3 and Z Flip 3, it’s easy to conclude; foldable phones have streamlined the bigger issues to now be accepted as daily drivers. Samsung has done the hard work and is continuing to experiment with the right design that buyers want. Apple is watching patiently on the sideline and perhaps inheriting the good.
There is so, so much more to be learned about Apple’s probable foldable iPhone. It’ll be interesting to see how the tech company will approach the foldable iPhone fantasy and how much the – already well-paced – smartphone industry will speed up then.