The chances of an Apple iPhone Fold appearing this year are next to none and that means the new Google Pixel Fold has 12 months or so to eat into and define this growing foldable market.
When you use a gorgeous folding phone like the Google Pixel Fold, you can’t help but wonder how Apple, the most iconic brand in all mobile devices, could do this.
Ever since I finished my review of the Pixel Fold, my mind kept taking me down the same path. I’m like a tech somnambulist, sleeping in the fridge of mobile ideas, searching the cool shelves for the Apple iPhone Fold that isn’t.
While more and more concrete rumors are swirling around the iPhone 15 and iPhone 16, little is known about Apple’s foldable plans. There is so little buzz and so little heat around the topic that the smartphone buying public is as cold as my refrigerator to the idea.
On Twitter, I asked in a poll if Apple would release the iPhone Fold this year. As you can see, almost no one expects that to happen.
Will Apple unveil the iPhone Fold this year?June 28, 2023
The reality of our Apple iPhone Fold is that there will be no iFold in 2024 but that doesn’t mean never.
Back in 2019, we saw various patents that all point to Apple’s continued interest in folding mobile device technology.
A 2019 patent showed ideas for how a foldable iPhone or iPad would work. In the folding world, these could be the same device. Four years is a long time in the tech space and since that launch Samsung has launched its Galaxy Z Fold and Z Flip line and spent, along with the upcoming Galaxy Z Fold 5, five generations improving it.
That same year, we found another patent where Apple fixed keeping warm with a busy folding hinge (to prevent the display from cracking).
This year, we were granted a patent that promised an automatic closing of the Apple foldable and a patent that adds virtual buttons to a seemingly fungible Apple device.
These patents are like coal for our foldable iPhone furnace, but that fire must be extinguished. I’ve noticed how analysts are still cautious as of late that while Apple is clearly working on foldable iPhones (or iPads), we shouldn’t expect anything this year.
I’m all for Apple waiting on other tech companies while they stumble over themselves and each other trying to create usable, durable, and affordable handsets. This is Apple’s way of entering an already established category and showing everyone how it’s done. There may be no better recent example than the Vision Pro. It’s very expensive but also unlike any other VR or Mixed reality headset I’ve tried.
However, it’s too late and Google just showed the existing foldable market how it’s done. The Pixel Fold is expensive but otherwise easily the best foldable handset on the market. Instead of being full of compromises, it opens up a world of possibilities.
That should be Apple’s job, showing us all how it’s done.
I’m not implying there isn’t room for improvement in the folding area. Apple could bring an iFold to market featuring better materials like ceramics and sapphire crystal. It can add a LiDAR camera for 3D capture. But Google has kind of taken the perfect form factor option away from them and Apple has shown no inclination to beat anyone in mobile lenses. Apple’s cameras are great but it doesn’t have the strongest telephoto or the most megapixels and probably won’t be any better than the Pixel Fold or Galaxy Z Fold 5, either
I don’t expect to see even a glimpse of Apple’s foldable plans in 2023 but I won’t hide my disappointment either. Not only is Apple late to this game, it may be too late to help the field.
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