What is happening
The Galaxy Z Flip 4 and Z Fold 4 were announced at Samsung Unpacked this week.
Why is it important?
With its fourth generation of foldable phones, Samsung hopes to take unique design into the mainstream. Meanwhile, Apple hasn’t released a single foldable iPhone.
Rumors suggest that Apple may launch a foldable iPhone in 2024. But making a foldable iPhone is complicated.
Own annualThe August event saw the launch of the fourth generation of Samsung foldable phones. There is a new one , a clamshell phone with a screen that folds in half to fit in your pocket. Then there is , a tablet that folds down to about the size of a regular phone. Highlight “Approximately”. And Samsung isn’t the only company making phones with foldable screens. There is also one . And outside the US, and there are also folding phones. This leaves us with an obvious question: Where is Apple’s foldable iPhone?
Apple does not comment on future products
The first thing to keep in mind is that Apple doesn’t announce products until they’re ready. OK, there was. But otherwise, Apple won’t tell us it’s working on a foldable iPhone or confirm the rumors.
After that, Apple usually positions the products as the solution to the problem, emphasizing quality and innovation.
The Galaxy Z Fold seems less like an answer to a problem and more like a “look at this technological wizardry, what can we do with it!” The cool factor, however ingenious, comes at the expense of features we’ve come to expect from regular phones, including battery life, ergonomics, software experience, and price. The Galaxy Z Flip solves the portability problem, but it has the same shortcomings as the Fold, especially when it comes to battery life and camera quality.
To be fair, the Galaxy Z Fold 3 took a significant step forward by embracing its large home screen and adding support for Samsung’s S Pen stylus. And the Z Fold 4’s improved Flex Mode for apps can tip the balance and make the Fold more useful than just cool.
If Apple made a foldable iPhone, what problem would it solve? Could the iPhone Flip replace the iPhone 13 Mini by offering you a big screen that still fits in your pocket? Or will it be the iPhone Fold — more like an iPad Mini that folds in half, with a closed size more like the iPhone 13 Pro Max? Or will we see a design that doesn’t exist yet? What about an iPhone Roll, where? This is where rumors come into play.
iPhone Fold Rumors
Back in January 2021, Mark Gurman wrote for Bloomberg that Apple “has begun early work on a foldable iPhone that could potentially compete with similar devices from Samsung.”
And in May 2021, analyst Ming-Chi Kuo said, as MacRumors reported, “Apple will likely launch a foldable iPhone with an 8-inch QHD Plus flexible OLED display in 2023.” He revised his prediction, a tweet last April, saying it could be 2025 before Apple has a foldable display device. It’s also worth noting that Kuo’s tweet was on April 1st, so it could have been an April Fool’s joke.
Both Gurman and Kuo have an excellent track record when it comes to Apple rumors. So, if these reports are true, we will see a foldable iPhone in 2025. It will be the size of an iPad Mini and will fold in half. End of story. But stop.
How to make a foldable iPhone
Apple needs to figure this out before making a foldable iPhone How Make a foldable iPhone. Research firm Omdia claims that 11.5 million foldable phones will be shipped in 2021. Apple sells hundreds of millions of iPhones every year. So if it’s making a foldable iPhone, it needs to make sure it can produce the phones at the same quality and in high enough quantities to meet demand. When Apple introduces a major hardware change, such as the 2014 iPhone 6 Plus and its larger screen, these models are hard to find because they sell out quickly. Sometimes they are given a later release date, as we saw with the launch of the iPhone 12 Mini and 12 Pro Max.
Then there is the physical complexity to consider. Foldable phones have numerous mechanical parts that can fail or wear out, such as the hinge components that protect against dust and the various layers behind the foldable screen. In fact, when journalists tested review units of the original Galaxy Fold, the device suffered hinge and display malfunctions. That was of course years ago and. But it shows what can happen with first-generation products.
If a foldable iPhone is in the works, Apple will likely update its design to minimize the parts and mechanisms involved, which should make the phones less likely to fail because something breaks. The Cupertino company has a lot of experience in this field.
When Apple released the iPhone 7, it replaced the home button with a fake home button, so there were fewer mechanical parts to break. If you’ve ever owned or used a MacBook, you know that Apple is at the top of its game when it comes to hinge design and reliability. Apple also sells AppleCare Plus — which includes a global infrastructure to support it — that can help alleviate concerns about problems or accidental damage if the foldable phone drops.
iOS and iPadOS must be updated
And then there’s the software. One UI, the name for Samsung’s take on Android, has to be the most underrated aspect of the Galaxy Z Flip and Z Fold. These new designs will have to do everything we expect from current phones while also creating new functionality that takes advantage of their foldable screens. They will also have to perform all these tasks flawlessly without any mistakes or hiccups.
For example, Galaxy phones’ Flex Mode has been around for years. In fact, when the Fold or Flip folds into an L shape like a mini-laptop, the software moves the software to the top half of the screen while providing functionality on the bottom. Sounds cool and full of possibilities, right?
Well, until this year, this functionality was limited. That’s why it’s important that Samsung lets you turn the bottom half of the Z Flip 4 and Z Fold 4 into a touchpad when in Flex Mode. The company is now showing the added benefit of folding.
I would love to see more software optimized for foldable phones. And I expect that Apple will face the same challenges as Samsung, especially when adapting iOS and iPadOS.
In recent years, iOS and iPadOS have diverged as Apple has built more iPad-specific features that don’t make sense on the iPhone. A foldable iPhone, especially in the style of the Galaxy Z Fold 4, would require the two operating systems to be reunited. Or, Apple will have to develop a new software platform that switches between tablet and phone mode.
Apple will likely develop a unique software feature (iMessage or Portrait Mode) to help differentiate its foldable phone from what everyone else has seen.
How much would you pay for a foldable iPhone?
Foldable phones are not cheap. The Galaxy Z Fold 4 starts at $1,800, while the Galaxy Z Flip 4 starts at $1,000. It is not surprising that the prices of Apple products are higher. So if a non-folding iPhone 13 Pro already costs $1,000, how much will one that does?
For the foldable iPhone to be successful, Apple needs to create a design that solves the problem, produce at scale for quality, and develop hardware as well as software that makes the most of its foldable design. The price should also be high, but not too high.
But where is the foldable iPhone? Still in the oven.
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