iPhone unfoldedSource: 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.

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Fold iPhone conceptSource: 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!