Samsung’s upcoming Galaxy Z Flip 4 is undoubtedly the most exciting thing in smartphones happening now. Based on leaks, rumors, and Samsung’s own teases, it’ll take what was already an attractive foldable-smartphone design and polish it with upgrades to the external screen and slightly better cameras.
It’s the one foldable I think I want, but only if it runs iOS.
I know that’s ridiculous, but it’s the thought that keeps running through my mind, and I realize it’s a symptom of an unfulfilled desire for a foldable option from Apple.
Apple Fold or iPhone Flip or Apple Folding iPhone rumors predate the pandemic – that’s how long we’ve been talking about this. The Cupertino technology giant is undoubtedly considering, and maybe even testing, designs. We’ve noted previously how Apple patent applications show a folding-screen iPhone. However, rumors of Apple considering two screens squeezed together to look like one when the device is unfolded is a consideration, too.
I don’t think I’m alone in this mini-crisis: staring longingly at Samsung’s awesome invention but still not-too-secretly wishing I could run iMessage and Safari on it.
My belief that the foldable market won’t explode until Apple joins it is not unique. Sure, Samsung recently reported that it shipped around 10 million foldable devices (opens in new tab) (across the Galaxy Z Flip and Galaxy Fold) last year. That’s not nothing, but it’s also microscopic compared to the reported 2.2 billion iPhones sold since 2007.
When I consider what might be holding the burgeoning foldable market back, one filled with Samsung, Huawei, Motorola, and others, I have to believe it’s Apple. The company’s stamp of approval, which invariably comes after other companies have spent time and resources being first, should transform the foldable market.
I ran a Twitter poll this week asking if people would buy a folding iPhone. At the time of writing, approximately 25% said, “Take my money,” while 75% checked, “Fold is a fad,” which means not only would they not buy an iPhone flip, they might not buy any folding device.
The turn-off for some is that folding screen technology is still in flux. In the early days, Samsung struggled with the crease, first using a polymer instead of glass. It then shifted to innovative ultra-thin glass for a smoother, virtually bump-free bend.
There’s also the issue of most folding devices being thicker than their non-folding counterparts. Obviously, folded they’re almost double the thickness, but even unfolded, they aren’t always as svelt. Even here, though, I think Samsung has made huge strides.
Where is Apple in all of this? It’s working on something we won’t see for a year or more, according to reports. Apple is in no rush to deliver an iPhone Fold because:
- It knows the market is still small
- Samsung is working out all the kinks for it
- It won’t deliver half-baked products
This is a good approach unless you want to see the state of this market move forward at a faster clip and are desperate to see what will be a very Apple take on the foldable space.
Sitting back and waiting means that Samsung owns the best-of-class foldable market but offers no outlet for those who’d prefer a foldable that lives in the iOS ecosystem.
We can’t rush Apple. Maybe we’ll be blown away by whatever it delivers in 2023, 2024, or (🤦♂️) 2025, but it’s gonna be a long wait. Who knows. By then, I may have adopted the Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 4 and left my foldable iPhone dreams behind.