What you need to know
- Rumors of Apple working on a folding iPhone won't go away, but Bloomberg's Mark Gurman says we could be waiting three years for it to ship.
- Samsung has already launched multiple foldables and has new ones on the way.
Rumors of Apple working on some sort of foldable iPhone have been around for years now, but Bloomberg's Mark Gurman says that we might have to wait as long as three years before anything ships.
Writing in his weekly Power On newsletter, Gurman said that "it'll be at least two or three years" before Apple is ready to launch a foldable iPhone. Gurman also points out that Apple would be opening itself to comparisons with Samsung's Galaxy Fold devices if it went a similar route, although it's difficult to see how it doesn't go that route.
Samsung offers two different types of foldable — one is tablet-sized and folds to be the size of a phone. The other is more akin to traditional flip phones and takes a normal phone and makes it smaller when closed. Apple seems more likely to go the former route, rather than the latter. Whichever it opts for, we won't be getting the fruits of Apple's foldable labor any time soon.
By the time Apple does get a folding iPhone out the door, it's likely Samsung will have had a few years at getting its own products right. Let's hope Apple doesn't have any of the same teething problems Samsung's Fold lineup had to deal with.
Just don't try to bend it in half, OK?
Oliver Haslam has written about Apple and the wider technology business for more than a decade with bylines on How-To Geek, PC Mag, iDownloadBlog, and many more. He has also been published in print for Macworld, including cover stories. At iMore, Oliver is involved in daily news coverage and, not being short of opinions, has been known to 'explain' those thoughts in more detail, too.
Having grown up using PCs and spending far too much money on graphics card and flashy RAM, Oliver switched to the Mac with a G5 iMac and hasn't looked back. Since then he's seen the growth of the smartphone world, backed by iPhone, and new product categories come and go. Current expertise includes iOS, macOS, streaming services, and pretty much anything that has a battery or plugs into a wall. Oliver also covers mobile gaming for iMore, with Apple Arcade a particular focus. He's been gaming since the Atari 2600 days and still struggles to comprehend the fact he can play console quality titles on his pocket computer.
Samsung is on their third iteration of their Galaxy Z Fold. So 3 years from now Samsung will be on their 6th iteration. The real truth that Apple won't tell you is Apple took wrong path for their app ecosystem, especially where Apple has gone out of their way to separate iPhone apps from iPad apps. That includes even supporting separate versions of iOS for iPhones and iPads. Think about it, if Apple tries to make a Galaxy Z Fold type device today, that can fold and unfold from iPhone to iPad, and back again. Then which app do you place on this iFoldable device? Will it run iPhone apps, or iPad apps, or both? Then there is the issue of app continuity between iPhone apps, and iPad apps, which there is no app continuity today between those types of apps, especially when you unfold to an iPad from iPhone mode. If a user unfolds that iPhone device to an iPad type device, but was typing text into that iPhone app, but now that this device is unfolded, then is that information that user already type into the iPhone app, going to now show up in the iPad app version? Nope not today, and not for years to come. See Google and Android took the opposite approach to Apple, by encouraging their developers to create only one app, that supports all screen sizes, DPI, and different landscape, or portrait modes that will work within the one app. This also helps out in the area of app continuity as well, and more. This is why we see Android foldable devices today, and nothing from Apple.
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