An Apple folding iPhone: How might it work
As Samsung prepares to release another foldable smartphone generation, questions emerge about whether Apple can make a significant move by releasing a foldable iPhone. Let's look at how Apple might go about it. However, other manufacturers see folding smartphones as the future, even though Apple does not compete in the market.
However, other manufacturers see folding smartphones as the future, even though Apple does not compete in the market. As of 2019, some of LG's early foldable display models have already been shipped to consumers. LG debuted its foldable display technology back in 2016.
The competition is becoming fiercer
It has been several years since the first foldable smartphone went on sale. It has taken Apple three generations to release its first device, while Samsung recently released its fourth. Microsoft Surface Duo, Motorola RAZR, and Oppo Find N are all eye-catching feature designs.
At Samsung's 2022 Unpacked event on August 10, the Galaxy Z Flip 4 and Galaxy Z Fold 4 are also expected to be unveiled. In the past decade, Apple has spent millions of dollars refining the iPhone. Easily mistaken as staleness, this refinement results from a device getting better. People looking for something new and exciting are increasingly attracted to these folding devices.
iPhone "Fold" evidence grows
Although Apple hasn't commented on the matter, many rumors will continue to make their way across the internet as with all its other products. According to rumors, Apple may seek new panels from LG or Samsung for its foldable phone. As far back as 2020, Samsung provided Apple with early samples of its components. Based on their predictions, numerous analysts report that Apple is still deep in the throes of development.
The display itself has been the subject of multiple rumors. The expected size has been guessed as eight inches by some, 7.5 inches by others, and even nine inches by one analyst. As for how the folding iPhone will be formed could either "fold" or "flip."
According to current trends, there is a higher likelihood of a flip phone. Changing iOS to support a flip-style phone would be fairly straightforward since it would have a single screen similar to the current iPhone. A peek-able notification screen and a robust hinge design have also been demonstrated in Apple's patents for a flip iPhone. As Apple works on differentiating the foldable iPhone, it's clear that it needs to improve its design.
The tried-and-true strategy of Apple
Every Apple releases new devices and device categories, and there is a pattern. It spends years behind closed doors to create a better product than what is currently available. Apple's current products demonstrate this well.
Apple Watch, AirPods, and iPhone were not the first smartwatches, wireless earbuds, or portable media players to reach the market. The product was not the only one available, but Apple created something unique before finally releasing it, which resulted in its success. An Apple foldable iPhone would make sense if it employed similar tactics.
Another common strategy Apple follows in its iPhone lineup is visible if we look at it more macroscopically. Iterating on a product a bit over time as Apple strives to perfect it is how Apple releases its products. Increasing the average selling price (ASP) will increase SKU selection. An iPhone's ASP is increasing with each new model.
A single device was all it took for iPhone to become popular. Before jumping to the premium iPhone X, the company introduced plus-sized phones and eventually added its "pro" series. To expand its iPhone lineup further, Apple could offer foldable phones at a premium price of nearly $2,000 per device.
How late is it going to be
According to some, Apple might be too late to capitalize on the foldable smartphone trend before the next major trend begins. There is no need for Apple to be first on the market; they need something better than what is currently available.
There have been many glitches with foldable devices, so Apple should wait until the technology has matured before releasing a foldable device. The first foldable iPhone is expected to be available in 2023, with 2024 being the most likely year. Apple would lag its competitors by five years if that were true.
In a sense, that statement is true. Despite Apple's current position, there is still plenty of opportunities to take advantage of. The cash Apple has allowed it to enjoy a product's launch, iterate, and eventually win.
That's something we've discussed many times before. Countless other Apple products adopt this approach, including the iPhone, Apple Watch, and Apple TV+. The iPhone Fold will likely follow the same pattern.