Apple’s new iPhone 14 lineup features some of the biggest hardware updates in years, including the iPhone 14 Pro’s redesigned hook for pop-up notifications. Dynamic island and a single iPhone 14 Plus. But among the changes, Apple did not want to introduce a foldable phone. This is all the more interesting as Samsung continues to improve its next-gen phone lineup with the release of the Galaxy Z Flip 4 and Galaxy Z Fold 4 last August.
Samsung is not the only company that produces phones with foldable screens. I have a Motorola Razr. In Asian markets, Huawei and Xiaomi also have foldable phones. So where is Apple?
Apple never comments on rumors
The first thing to know is that Apple doesn’t announce products until they’re ready. When it breaks its rule, it can result in something like AirPower, a stillborn charger.
Second, Apple generally positions its products as problem-solving, emphasizing quality and innovation. Tim Cook often says that Apple wants to be the best, not the first in the market.
Moreover, the Galaxy Z Fold seems more like an answer to a problem than a technological demonstration that we don’t necessarily know what to do with. Despite the hefty price tag, the Z Flip makes up for the price with the features we’ve come to expect from regular phones, including battery life, ergonomics and software experience. Admittedly, the Z Fold 4’s improved Flex mode for apps could tip the scales to finally make the Fold useful.
If Apple made a foldable iPhone, what problem would it solve? Could this be the iPhone Flip that will replace the iPhone 13 Mini by offering you a big screen while staying in your pocket? Or will the iPhone Fold be more like an iPad Mini that folds in half and turns it into an iPhone 14 Pro Max when closed? Apple may develop a third option…
In January 2021, Mark Gurman wrote for Bloomberg that Apple “has begun work on a foldable iPhone that could potentially rival Samsung’s similar devices.”
And in May 2021, analyst Ming-Chi Kuo said that “Apple is likely to release a foldable iPhone with an 8-inch QHD Plus flexible OLED display in 2023.” In a tweet earlier this year, he revised his prediction, saying that it would take until 2025 for a foldable display device from Apple.
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.
© Technizo Concept
How to make a foldable iPhone
Before Apple can produce a foldable iPhone, it needs to figure out how to make it. Apple sells hundreds of millions of iPhones every year. So if it makes a foldable iPhone, it needs to make sure it can produce the phones at the same quality and in sufficient quantities to meet demand. When Apple introduces a drastic hardware change like 2014’s iPhone 6 Plus and its larger screen, these models are hard to find on sale because they sell out quickly. Sometimes they get a later release date, as we saw with the iPhone 12 Mini and 12 Pro Max, or more recently the iPhone 14 Plus.
Then there is the physical complexity to consider. Foldable phones have many mechanical parts that can cause problems, such as the hinge components and the various layers behind the foldable display. In fact, when journalists tested the first Galaxy Folds in 2019, the device was far from flawless, which is understandable given the innovation, but which could (should?) be infamous for the Korean giant.
If a foldable iPhone works, Apple will likely innovate its design to minimize parts and mechanisms that will make phones less likely to break, demonstrating the longevity of products like the iPhone. , iPad. or Mac.
To give you an idea of what to do, remember that Apple launched the iPhone 7 by replacing the home button with a dummy module with a Taptic Engine to reduce the number of mechanical parts that could 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.
And then there’s the software part. While One UI is available on the Galaxy Z Flip and Z Fold, we’re still waiting for new features that take advantage of their foldable screens. Fortunately, Flex mode was pushed this year by turning the bottom of the screen into a touchpad.
Apple will obviously face the same challenges as Samsung, especially when adapting iOS and iPadOS.
iOS and iPadOS have drifted apart in recent years, with Apple creating more iPad-specific features that wouldn’t make sense on an iPhone, like Stage Manager. A foldable iPhone, especially in the style of the Galaxy Z Fold 4, will require the meeting of two operating systems. Or, Apple should develop a new software platform that can switch from tablet mode to phone mode fOS for Fold Operating System.
Apple needs to find solutions at all levels, which is within its grasp. We saw this again recently with Dynamic Island, which houses Face ID sublimated by the software part.
We’ll just have to wait and see what price the iPhone Fold (or iPad Fold according to Samsung) will go on sale for.