We’ll reportedly see a whole glut of foldable phones released towards the end of the year, but anybody holding out hope for the rumoured iPhone Fold in 2021 is set to be sorely disappointed.
That’s according to the well connected Bloomberg reporter Mark Gurman, who wrote in his latest Power On newsletter that a foldable iPhone is at least 2-3 years away. The more optimistic timing ties in neatly with Apple analyst Ming-Chi Kuo, who previously predicted that a foldable iPhone will arrive in 2023.
Anybody who has followed Apple’s strategy with iPhones will probably be unsurprised by this. From wireless charging to OLED screens, Apple tends to be late adopters of new hardware features – though to great effect in the case of Face ID which worked far better than Android alternatives when it arrived with the iPhone X. Given the company’s history, it just makes sense for Apple to wait until foldable screens are seamless enough to be introduced without teething troubles.
All the same, a 2023 launch means that Samsung will likely have released five generations of foldable phones before Apple is even out of the blocks. And given Samsung’s ambition to make foldables mainstream, that could look like a shortsighted business decision in a few years’ time.
It’s not just Samsung that is pushing foldables, of course. Alongside the Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 3 and Z Flip 3, we’re expecting no fewer than five other foldables from the likes of Xiaomi, Vivo, Oppo, Honor and Google this year or early 2022. Google is especially interesting, and the rumoured Pixel Fold has the potential to shake up the industry, given it’s made by the creators of the Android operating system.
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All the same, it would be foolish to discount Apple’s potential to change the game when its first foldable emerges. While Samsung hopes to be the company to mainstream foldables, you wouldn’t bet against Apple achieving that instead. If AirPods have shown us anything, it’s how the company has an almost unique ability to popularise entire product categories out of nowhere, based purely on brand loyalty and strong design.