Apple’s foldable research is intensifying according to the latest report from DSCC via MacRumors. Supply chain analyst Ross Young claims that any plans to launch a foldable iPhone have been delayed until 2025. That isn’t surprising. Apple isn’t in a hurry to launch a foldable phone. Existing foldable phones are mediocre at best, terrible at worst. Their pricing is way out of reach for the average consumer. And even if you have the cash these devices come with compromises. From durability concerns as with the original Galaxy Fold, laughably poor under-display cameras as found in the current Galaxy Z Fold 3 to the persistent creases seen on every foldable device thus far.
Apple will not ship an iPhone with a folding display until the technology is great enough to meet the quality standards that the iPhone is known for. Right now the compromises to get there are too significant to ship these devices in volume. Delivering the level of quality we expect from the iPhone will take a lot more research and development. And there really isn’t any rush. Nobody is selling foldable phones in high quantities, not even Samsung. Consumers don’t seem to be all that enamoured at the moment. A survey from April 2021 by YouGov shows that only 16% of US adults are ‘very interested in foldable phones. And 50% show little to no interest at all. When factoring in results from surveyed iPhone owners, the ‘very interested’ figure drops to 13%. The survey isn’t recent but it would be surprising if the results have changed dramatically in the past 10 months.
Apple’s immediate foldable plans
Apple might not be planning to launch a foldable phone any time soon but they are pursuing displays for larger folding former factors. Young outlines that Apple is investigating foldable notebook displays of around 20-inches in size. The concept would be a device that could display an on-screen keyboard when folded. When unfolded, the device could be used as an external monitor with an external keyboard and mouse. Young notes that at such a size, resolutions would likely exceed 4K.
It is encouraging to see Apple continue to research the foldable category. History shows that when Apple enters a new category it tends to disrupt it and lead a new wave of innovation. And that’s great news for consumers. Just don’t expect to see any shipping products until 2025 at the very earliest.
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