Is three more years too long to wait for a foldable iPhone?

iPhone unfolded
iPhone unfolded (Image credit: iMore)

If Apple doesn't get a foldable iPhone out the door within the next three years, will it be fashionably late, or just late? That's the question.

It's a question that can be asked about Apple time and time again, too. Apple wasn't the first to make a smartphone and it wasn't the first to put smarts into a watch, either. It wasn't the first to release earbuds without wires and it definitely won't be the first to make a smartphone bend in the middle. In all of those other cases, iPhone, Apple Watch, and AirPods have gone on to dominate the market in their own way — so you could argue that fashionably late is just late enough.

Will it be the same with a foldable iPhone?

This past weekend saw Bloomberg's Mark Gurman suggest it could be three years before a foldable iPhone is ready for sale. That isn't all that long in the grand scheme of things, but it'll be five years after Samsung's Galaxy Fold was announced. Five years is a long time, even by Apple standards.

Fold iPhone concept

Fold iPhone concept (Image credit: Rene Ritchie / iMore)

Sure, people will point to Apple's previous products and say that it's a company that likes to get things right rather than be the first to market and, so far, that's an approach that has been difficult to argue with. It took its time putting OLED into phones, but it was the first major phone maker to ditch the headphone jack, too. When Apple wants to be "brave," it can be. So what's the hold up with bendy iPhones?

Apple must think, rightly or wrongly, that the current method of making foldables isn't up to the job. It might have a point Samsung's Fold problems are any indication. But Samsung's beginning to get things right and those who really want a foldable might not want to wait for Apple to get on board. This begs the question once more — how late is too late?

I don't know. But I do know I'd pay an embarrassing amount of money for a foldable iPhone right now. Three years seems so far away! I guess I'll just have to settle for iPhone 13 for now — it's sure to be the best iPhone yet, even if it's a big rigid for my liking!

Oliver Haslam

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.