In the era of ever-evolving technology, with each passing year we witness a new wave of upcoming smartphone innovations and advancements.
In 2023, it’s all about the foldable smartphone. Samsung, OnePlus and Google have all brought us foldable phone tech, but one question on everyone’s mind is whether Apple will follow the same trend.
Well, it’s hard to say for sure, but there are rumours that Apple is experimenting with foldable and flip designs, and we might see an “iPhone Flip” or “iPhone Fold” in the near future.
To flip or not to flip, that is the question.
Foldable display: pros and cons
A foldable display is simply a screen that can bend or fold without sustaining any damage. This means that you can enjoy the benefits of a large screen without having to carry around a bulky tablet-sized device. Typically, flexible OLED (Organic Light Emitting Diode) technology creates these foldable displays. OLEDs, made of organic materials, light up when an electrical current is applied to them. By utilizing thin and flexible layers of OLEDs, manufacturers can design screens that can be bent or folded.
On the upside, a foldable iPhone would give you a bigger screen to play with when you want it. You could unfold it for movies, games, or multitasking and then fold it down when you’re on the go. It’d be like having a tablet and a phone in one.
But on the downside, we must ask the question of how durable would a foldable iPhone be? It’d have to withstand a lot of repetitive flexing, so Apple must ensure it’s built to last. And then there’s the cost. Making a foldable display is still pretty new and expensive tech, which means a foldable iPhone could be pricier than the existing models already are.
Will Apple join the fold?
Apple has not made significant changes to the design of its iPhones in recent years. The iPhone 15 looks very similar to the iPhone 12. The iPhone 15 Pro Max, despite being made of titanium, is almost identical to the stainless steel iPhone 12 Pro Max.
This lack of innovation has left many wondering what Apple’s next design move will be. There have been rumours for years that Apple may join the trend of foldable smartphones, and some have speculated that Apple is already working on prototypes. However, Apple has yet to confirm anything, and the only information we have is the few rumors that have leaked in recent years.
We can also see Apple’s growing list of patents for iPhone Flip and iPhone Fold designs.
The company has been awarded multiple patents in recent years related to iPhone Fold and iPhone Flip design concepts. While the mere fact that Apple holds a patent does not necessarily guarantee that we will see a foldable iPhone on the market anytime soon, it does suggest that the company is considering the possibility.
A quick online search reveals that Apple has been granted at least two US patents for flip phones. Patent number US10955880B2 describes a hinge mechanism for foldable phones, while patent number US11550369B2 describes a multi-layered construction for flip phones.
Additionally, Apple has obtained at least five US patents related to a possible iPhone Fold. Among these, patent number US10694624B2 describes a foldable smartphone with an exposed display region. Still, another depicts a foldable phone with a self-healing crease.
In 2022, reputable Apple analyst Ming-Chi Kuo suggested that a foldable iPhone would not launch until at least 2025. Another influential Apple analyst, Bloomberg’s Mark Gurman, said an “iPhone Fold” would eventually arrive, but “it may be quite a while.”
Analysts, including Kuo, have repeatedly pushed back the possible launch date for foldable iPhones. The same analyst once thought they would arrive in 2020, then later suggested they would come in 2024. Many others have played the same game.
So, the big question on everyone’s mind is whether Apple will introduce its version of a foldable smartphone. There are a few things that might sway its decision. For starters, Apple likes to wait until a technology is tried and true before incorporating it into its products. It wants to make sure its customers get the best possible user experience.
Moreover, Apple is about practicality and making things easy for its users. It only adds something new if it makes a real difference and improves the overall experience. So, if it thinks an iPhone Fold is the way to go, it might give it a thumbs up. Apple has always been known for its forward-thinking and user-friendly product designs. And if it does go in this direction, it will be interesting to see how it incorporates folding technology into future iPhones.
Lastly, Apple likes to stay up-to-date with what’s hot in the market. If foldable smartphones become the norm, it wouldn’t be surprising if Apple decided to keep up with the competition and offer a foldable iPhone. After all, Apple has always been a game-changer in the tech industry, and it’s not one to shy away from new trends.
What do we want to see in an iPhone Fold?
The iPhone Fold’s most significant selling point would undoubtedly be its unique design, setting it apart from all previous iPhone models. However, attention would quickly shift beyond the design to how iOS operates on this new device.
To make the most of the larger display, it would be best for Apple to have a future version of iPadOS available when the phone is fully opened. When unfolded, the phone should look like any other iPhone. After all, iOS is one of the significant reasons why iPhones are so popular.
Moreover, Apple needs to develop a unique feature that sets the iPhone Fold apart from other foldable phones available on the market. A seamless integration with the company’s upcoming Vision Pro could be that feature.
The bottom line: Apple needs to provide more than just the ability to fold to make it a worthwhile purchase. Apple needs to offer a range of features and benefits beyond its folding capabilities, such as improved camera technology, increased battery life, and an enhanced user experience. By doing so, Apple can give customers numerous reasons to consider purchasing the iPhone Fold, making it stand out among other foldable phones in the market.