It looks like Apple, Google may have a foldable phone in front of you


We’re a few weeks away from Google I/O, the search giant’s annual software show, and all signs point to the company releasing its first foldable phone: the Pixel Fold. There have been several rumors and leaks about the Pixel Fold that suggest it will be a small tablet device that folds in half to the size of a phone. It could be similar to Samsung’s Galaxy Z Fold 4. That’s right, the Pixel Fold might even match the Z Fold’s $1,800 price tag.

If the Pixel Fold is announced during I/O, it would leave Apple as the only major US phone maker without a foldable device. Motorola has the Razr, remember, and earlier this year it showed off the Motorola Rizr concept, a phone with a height-changing rotating display. And outside the US, Huawei and Xiaomi also have foldable phones.

All of which leaves us with the obvious question: Where is Apple’s foldable iPhone?

The iPhone 14 and iPhone 14 Pro have been around for seven months, and despite rumors and speculation, the company has not confirmed that a foldable iPhone is in development. This is especially interesting as Samsung continues to improve its line of foldable phones, such as the release of the Galaxy Z Flip 4 and Galaxy Z Fold 4 last year.

We won’t know if we’re getting an iPhone Fold or an iPhone Flip until they’re announced, so I’d like to break down what Apple will need to build its first foldable device based on everything we know. designs, manufactures and markets its own hardware.

Apple does not comment on future products

First of all, Apple doesn’t announce products until they’re ready. It was good AirPower wireless charging station. Otherwise, Apple won’t tell us if it’s working on a foldable iPhone or confirm the rumors.

Second, Apple usually positions the product as a solution to a problem, emphasizing quality and innovation.

The Galaxy Z Fold is not an answer to a problem, but a “look at this technological magic, what can we do with it?” It seems. The cool factor, but at the expense of features you’d expect from mainstream phones, including battery life, ergonomics, software experience, and price. The Galaxy Z Flip solves the portability problem, but it has the same flaws as the Fold, especially when it comes to battery life and camera quality.

To be fair, the Galaxy Z Fold 3 took a big step forward by adopting its larger main display and adding support for the Samsung S Pen stylus. The Z Fold 4’s improved Flex Mode for apps also tips the scales, making the Fold more useful than just cool.

If Apple released a foldable iPhone, what problem would it solve? Could this be the iPhone Flip that replaces the iPhone 13 Mini by giving you a bigger screen that still fits in your pocket? Or would it be the iPhone Fold – like an iPad Mini that folds in half, with a closed size closer to the size of the iPhone 13 Pro Max? Or will we see a design that doesn’t exist yet? What about the iPhone Roll, there the screen opens like an expanding window curtain? This is where the rumors start to appear.


Why does Apple need a foldable iPhone? What problem does it solve?

Celso Bulgatti/CNET

iPhone Fold Rumors

In January 2021, Mark Gurman wrote to Bloomberg that Apple is “early to work on an iPhone with a foldable screen, a potential competitor to similar devices from Samsung.”

In May of that year, analyst Ming-Chi Kuo said, as reported by MacRumors, that “Apple may launch a foldable iPhone with an 8-inch QHD Plus flexible OLED display in 2023.” He revised his prediction, a Tweeted last April, to suggest that it could be until 2025 before Apple’s foldable screen device appears. It’s also worth noting that Kuo’s tweet happened on April Fools’ Day, which means it’s probably an April Fool’s joke.

Both Gurman and Kuo have excellent records when it comes to Apple rumors. So, if these reports are correct, we will see a foldable iPhone in 2025. It’s about the size of an iPad Mini, and it folds in half. End of story. But wait.

How to make a foldable iPhone

Before Apple makes a foldable iPhone, you need to understand it How make a foldable iPhone. Research firm Omdia reports that 11.5 million foldable phones will be shipped in 2021. Apple sells hundreds of millions of iPhones a year. So if it makes a foldable iPhone, it needs to be sure it can make the phones at the same quality and in enough quantities to meet demand. Often, when Apple makes major hardware changes like the 2014 iPhone 6 Plus and its larger screen, these models are hard to find at launch because they sell out so quickly. Sometimes they are given a later release date, as we saw with the iPhone 12 Mini and 12 Pro Max.

Then there is the physical complexity to consider. Foldable phones have many mechanical parts that can fail or wear out, such as the dustproof hinge components and the various layers behind the foldable screen. In fact, when journalists tested review units of the original Galaxy Fold, the device had hinge and display issues. This was of course years ago and Samsung has since fixed these issues. But it shows what can happen with first generation products.

If a foldable iPhone is in the works, Apple could innovate the design to reduce parts and mechanics, which should reduce the chances of the phones failing because something breaks. The Cupertino company has excellent experience in this field.

When Apple released the iPhone 7, it replaced the home button with a fake home button, so there was one less mechanical part to break. And if you own or have used a MacBook, you know that Apple is at the top of its game when it comes to hinge design and reliability. Apple also sells AppleCare Plus, its repair and support service and includes a global support infrastructure that helps ease worries about problems or accidental damage.

iPadOS with an additional monitor

Apple’s iPad operating system is split from iOS, in part to accommodate larger screens like this second monitor in iPad OS 16 beta.

Screenshot via Apple/CNET

iOS and iPadOS require a major overhaul

Then there’s the software. The user interface, Samsung’s name for its Android version, has to be the most underrated aspect of the Galaxy Z Flip and Z Fold. This new design should do everything we expect from current phones while simultaneously creating new features that take advantage of their foldable screens. They also need to do all these things perfectly without mistakes or hiccups. And if Google does release a Pixel Fold, I’d expect better Android support for foldable devices.

For example, Galaxy phones have had Flex mode for years. Basically, when the Fold or Flip folds into an L-shape like a small laptop, the software moves the app to the top half of the screen while providing functionality on the bottom. Sounds great and full of possibilities, right?

Until this year, this opportunity was limited. That’s why it’s important that Samsung Z Flip 4 and Z Fold 4 let you turn the bottom half of their screen into a touchpad in Flex mode. The company is now showing the added benefit of folding.

The L-shaped Galaxy Z Flip 3

Sarah Tew/CNET

I would love to see software optimized for flip phones. I expect Apple to face the same challenges as Samsung, especially when adapting iOS and iPadOS.

In recent years, iOS and iPadOS have been separated because Apple created iPad-specific features that didn’t make sense on the iPhone. A foldable iPhone, especially in the style of the Galaxy Z Fold 4, requires the meeting of two operating systems. Or Apple should develop a new software platform that can switch from tablet mode to phone mode.

Apple could develop a unique software feature (think iMessage or Portrait Mode) to help differentiate its foldable phone from what everyone else is doing.

How much would you pay for a foldable iPhone?

Flip phones don’t come cheap. The Galaxy Z Fold 4 starts at $1,800, while the Galaxy Z Flip 4 starts at $1,000. And it is not surprising that the price of Apple products has already increased. If the half-unfoldable iPhone 14 Pro already costs $1,000, what will it cost?

For the foldable iPhone to be successful, Apple needs to design solutions that solve problems, scale production without sacrificing quality, and develop hardware and software that make the most of its foldable structure. The price should also be high, but not too high.

So where is the foldable iPhone? Still in the oven.

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