How Apple could approach a folding iPhone

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Comments

  • Reply 21 of 65
    tundraboy said:
    I'd much prefer they apply flexible screen technology on large flat screen TVs so you can fold or roll those monstrosities and hide them when they're not in use.
    This already exists.
    williamlondon
  • Reply 22 of 65
    Apple is definitely not too late to market. As the article and other commenters said, Apple was "late" to music players, smartphones, and wearables — but nobody today can accurately claim that the iPod, iPhone, AirPods, and Apple Watch product lines haven't been fantastically successful and profitable.

    Before buying my first iPhone in 2007, my prior two phones were the Motorola StarTAC and RAZR — leading flip phones of the era. There was something incredibly satisfying about snapping them shut. If Apple comes up with a flip-style iPhone that has no gap by the hinge when closed and isn't significantly thicker when closed than today's iPhone 13 Pro Max, I would at least consider such a model.

    To be frank, whether or not there exists a "mass-market use case" for a flip-style iPhone is probably not relevant. Apple might very well market such a product to steal a few customers away from Samsung and its Galaxy Z models (fold & flip). With Apple's traditional high profit margins, it's unlikely that Apple would lose money. And Apple's foldable phone might leapfrog their competitors in design.
    edited August 9 dewmeBart Ywatto_cobra
  • Reply 23 of 65
    dewmedewme Posts: 4,377member
    I trust that if Apple goes in this direction they will do it right. I don't think they'll just throw something together to have a me-too catch-up product or do something radically different just for the sake of being different. If they do it, it will be a great product.

    I seem to recall that some folks inside Apple were somewhat dismissive of the competition's "jumbo phones" prior to Apple releasing the iPhone 6 Plus, which was exactly a jumbo phone built by Apple. Sometimes the market trends in directions that you cannot ignore and you have to follow. At least in Apple's case they tend to follow with a strong product offering that is subsequently viewed as the best-in-class. 

    Apple seems to be losing some momentum with the mini phones, so perhaps a folding/expanding form factor will allow them to satisfy a couple of different buyer segments with a single flexible format product.
    radarthekatwatto_cobra
  • Reply 24 of 65
    MarvinMarvin Posts: 14,803moderator
    red oak said:
    There is almost zero evidence any of these foldable phones (including the ones from Samsung) sell in any measurable volume
    According to Samsung, the volume of foldable phones was 10 million in 2021:

    https://www.theverge.com/2022/7/20/23272029/samsung-tm-roh-foldable-phones-mainstream

    The following says the Galaxy Z Flip made up 4.6 million:

    https://www.phonearena.com/news/galaxy-z-flip-3-5g-most-shipped-foldable-2021_id139154

    The Z Fold and Huawei P50 were the next best sellers. Likely somewhere around 2 million each.

    Most of the foldables are for the compact phone like the old Razr phones and not like the foldable tablets. There are probably some of the over 100 million people who bought the old style flip phones and liked the form factor.

    This is a lower sales volume than the iPhone mini. If Apple wanted to cater to the audience for compact phones, they could just keep making the iPhone mini series.

    Bending any glass means making it weaker and it will crease.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=o1j8J1FDJOw
    muthuk_vanalingamdewmeBart Ywatto_cobratmay
  • Reply 25 of 65
    avon b7avon b7 Posts: 6,339member
    avon b7 said:
    Many of the first foldable devices were plagued by reliability issues"

    I'm unaware of any foldable phone being plagued with reliability issues. Quite the opposite is true.

    AFAIK, all folding phones that have come to market have had great reliability so far. 

    For the Samsung Fold, many review units were damaged by reviewers trying to remove a screen coating that should not have been removed.

    Once that was corrected, along with some further design enhancements, the units that were released performed well.


    The old argument from ignorance. Moveable parts will always be less reliable then a solid device. Battery covers, hinges, etc, they all break over time. It’s called wear and tear. Nobody seems to be buying foldable phones and I don’t expect that the change any time soon.
    You seem to have missed the fact that these devices are deliberately not solid for a very specific reason.

    There is no ignorance about it. 

    Add to that that all folding phone manufacturers specifically deal with the 'wear' aspect upfront by explaining the stress tests the hinges go through. 

    The decision to buy or not has more to do with how much you see folding the phone as an advantage. 
    edited August 9
  • Reply 26 of 65
    AppleZuluAppleZulu Posts: 1,393member
    thrang said:
    I don't understand the mass-market use case for a foldable phone. The way the vast majority of us utilize a phone - constantly referencing and glancing at it for dozens of tasks, from morning to night, who wants to constantly open and close it? What purpose does it serve? It will only be thicker to put in your pocket.

    Perhaps there is some use case for the iPad, given its use is a bit more measured and purposeful, and perhaps it integrates a digital keyboard into the foldout. Still, I cannot envision it having very large interest.
    This is the thing. Other than the novelty of it (Look Ma! It folds!), there doesn’t seem to be much point to it. 

    Apple has a great history of producing things people didn’t know they’d find essential, but this just doesn’t seem like it would fit that scenario. 
    Bart Ywatto_cobra
  • Reply 27 of 65
    melgrossmelgross Posts: 33,298member
    avon b7 said:
    Many of the first foldable devices were plagued by reliability issues"

    I'm unaware of any foldable phone being plagued with reliability issues. Quite the opposite is true.

    AFAIK, all folding phones that have come to market have had great reliability so far. 

    For the Samsung Fold, many review units were damaged by reviewers trying to remove a screen coating that should not have been removed.

    Once that was corrected, along with some further design enhancements, the units that were released performed well.


    That’s not true, and you know it.
    Bart Ywonkothesanecornchipwatto_cobratmay
  • Reply 28 of 65
    chadbagchadbag Posts: 1,729member
    Marvin said:
    red oak said:
    There is almost zero evidence any of these foldable phones (including the ones from Samsung) sell in any measurable volume
    According to Samsung, the volume of foldable phones was 10 million in 2021:

    https://www.theverge.com/2022/7/20/23272029/samsung-tm-roh-foldable-phones-mainstream

    The following says the Galaxy Z Flip made up 4.6 million:

    https://www.phonearena.com/news/galaxy-z-flip-3-5g-most-shipped-foldable-2021_id139154

    The Z Fold and Huawei P50 were the next best sellers. Likely somewhere around 2 million each.

    Most of the foldables are for the compact phone like the old Razr phones and not like the foldable tablets. There are probably some of the over 100 million people who bought the old style flip phones and liked the form factor.

    This is a lower sales volume than the iPhone mini. If Apple wanted to cater to the audience for compact phones, they could just keep making the iPhone mini series.

    Bending any glass means making it weaker and it will crease.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=o1j8J1FDJOw
    How do these same number compare to the Samsung  S series?
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 29 of 65
    melgrossmelgross Posts: 33,298member
    Marvin said:
    red oak said:
    There is almost zero evidence any of these foldable phones (including the ones from Samsung) sell in any measurable volume
    According to Samsung, the volume of foldable phones was 10 million in 2021:

    https://www.theverge.com/2022/7/20/23272029/samsung-tm-roh-foldable-phones-mainstream

    The following says the Galaxy Z Flip made up 4.6 million:

    https://www.phonearena.com/news/galaxy-z-flip-3-5g-most-shipped-foldable-2021_id139154

    The Z Fold and Huawei P50 were the next best sellers. Likely somewhere around 2 million each.

    Most of the foldables are for the compact phone like the old Razr phones and not like the foldable tablets. There are probably some of the over 100 million people who bought the old style flip phones and liked the form factor.

    This is a lower sales volume than the iPhone mini. If Apple wanted to cater to the audience for compact phones, they could just keep making the iPhone mini series.

    Bending any glass means making it weaker and it will crease.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=o1j8J1FDJOw
    Be very, very careful about believing anything Samsung says. Remember that this is a company that has had its CEO convicted of bribery three times. It’s also a company that gets fined hundreds of millions of dollars every few years for price fixing, among other crimes.

    additionally, it’s known for just lying.

    at the end of 2010, it claimed to have sold 1,000,000 tablets in the USA that year. But in early 2011, Lenovo said that they had lied, and that they actually sold, I think it was, 30,000. Samsung never replied to that. When Apple sued them shortly after, in discovery, it was found that Samsung had sold a small fraction of the numbers analysists were putting out, numbers that were later found to have come from Samsung.

    samsung then announced that they would no longer give out phone and tablet sales.

    when Samsung was racing with Apple to be the “first” to sell a full featured smartwatch, they claimed to have sold 8,000,000, I think for the first quarter, but I could be wrong there. It was found that during that period, that they had actually sold 800,000.

    then Samsung, Huawei and a few others, whom I don’t recall now, were found to be cheating on benchmarks.

    and then, talking about copying. I don’t remember all the cases that went flying between Apple and Samsung, but approximately 30 were won by Apple and what, 3, 4 or maybe 5 by Samsung?

    there are are other incidences.

    the only time I would believe anything they say, as they have no believability, is if their numbers were certified by a respected independent organization that was not from S Korea.
    edited August 9 DAalsethwonkothesaneBart Ydavgregcornchipwatto_cobra
  • Reply 30 of 65
    jdwjdw Posts: 1,084member
    This is one of those stories that compels 51-year-old me to type: LOL!

    No, I seriously doubt that "many" in the Apple camp are waiting for vastly inferior tech like foldable phones.  Durability will never be what a normal iPhone offers; and while a higher price point may make sense for a business, it doesn't jive for the frugal consumer.  Paying all that money for iffy long-term durability in order to gain twice the screen space that still isn't on par with an iPad isn't what I call a smart purchase.

    Apple doesn't make things until it thinks it can make them insanely great.  Apple isn't 5 years behind Samsung because foldable phones aren't great to begin with in practice.  Even the new Galaxy Z Flip 3 has a noticeable crease down the middle, and who wants that?  (Okay, maybe John Kreese, but he lacks a large following.) 

    As such, I don't think anyone is criticizing Apple right now for not doing a Me Too behind Samsung.  Foldable phones are just an "I'm out of ideas now" attempt to break the monotony of "the same old thing."  But just because a technology is new, doesn't mean it's a good buy.

    Holographic image projection might be an advanced technology I could get behind.  Once the hype dies down, foldable phones will soon go the way of bell bottom pants.
    edited August 10 dewmeBart Ywatto_cobra
  • Reply 31 of 65
    avon b7avon b7 Posts: 6,339member
    melgross said:
    avon b7 said:
    Many of the first foldable devices were plagued by reliability issues"

    I'm unaware of any foldable phone being plagued with reliability issues. Quite the opposite is true.

    AFAIK, all folding phones that have come to market have had great reliability so far. 

    For the Samsung Fold, many review units were damaged by reviewers trying to remove a screen coating that should not have been removed.

    Once that was corrected, along with some further design enhancements, the units that were released performed well.


    That’s not true, and you know it.
    AFAIK, it's absolutely true.

    I have been following the folding phone market for three years now.

    Reliability was a logical potential weak point in real world usage. If that had been an issue, the internet and every tech site would have been all over it - just like it was with the Samsung review unit fiasco.

    If what I said were not true, the internet would have continued to blaze a trail of news on how bad folding phones were in reliability terms. That literally never happened.

    No model has been plagued with reliability issues. 

    You don't have to take Samsung's word on sales numbers. Industry watchers have also pointed out the huge success of folding phones even while still being an expensive niche product. 

    More and more companies are bringing folding phones to market with Honor and OPPO in particular drawing high praise for their takes on the idea. 

    It seems clear that folding (and probably scrolling) phones are here to stay and will take up more market share as prices come down. 
    muthuk_vanalingam
  • Reply 32 of 65
    palegolaspalegolas Posts: 1,350member
    Not first, but the best.

    Apple might do it if they think it’s possible to make a product that doesn’t wear out. Like, bigger folding radius, better bendable material, better structural support etc.

    The current foldies wear so much in the crease over time, judging by long time reviews. That kind of wear Apple would never accept.

    The idea of having a small device expand into a big screen device is of course enticing. AR glasses is kind of the king of that, because the “big screen” is virtual. But a foldable (or rollable) would be more casually useful.
    Bart Ywatto_cobra
  • Reply 33 of 65
    macguimacgui Posts: 2,191member
     or just go read another site. And in any case surely it’s a dictionary they want rather than a thesaurus. :)
    HAHAHAH. The irony and idiocy of his statement prompted an eye-roll and and a chuckle. The emboldened bit prompted a laugh. 

    Regarding the orignal topic, most of the pundits have no idea if Apple is actually prototyping a folding phone. But if they are- so what. It's not like they can't afford to take a look.

    That a folding phone is still and may always be a niche market is arguably correct. Apple has entered markets and experiences low sales many times before, with mass critics saying 'major fail'. Of the examples cited, the Watch (it may have been mentioned and I've missed it) and Apple TV debuted to slow sales/subscriptions. But Apple as done ok in both, well enough that Cook & Co. won't be pulling the plug anytime soon (if ever, really).

    There are people who want a folding phone, the sale figures quoted by Marvin the Modnificent debunk the "nobody wants a folding" phone diatribe. Mass market, no, but somebody is getting a product they want even if not everybody else wants one.

    I'm not the target demographic. My phone is a mini and I'll be sad when Apple drops it or morphs it into something bigger. How long do folding screens last? A lot of you talk doom and gloom about the screens breaking but you don't say when. Everything dies eventually. So how long before a folding screen dies or shows sufficient wear and tear to warrant a new one. Nobody from either side has addressed that beyond "it will!"

    Were I to consider a folding phone it would have to be about as thin folded as my mini and open up to something between an iPhone Max and an iPad mini. I'd want the display's resolution to mimic that of a CRT TV. Bigger screen, same res, and larger everything. Increasing real estate isn't for me.
    muthuk_vanalingamwatto_cobra
  • Reply 34 of 65
    Bart YBart Y Posts: 42unconfirmed, member
    avon b7 said:
    Many of the first foldable devices were plagued by reliability issues"

    I'm unaware of any foldable phone being plagued with reliability issues. Quite the opposite is true.

    AFAIK, all folding phones that have come to market have had great reliability so far. 

    For the Samsung Fold, many review units were damaged by reviewers trying to remove a screen coating that should not have been removed.

    Once that was corrected, along with some further design enhancements, the units that were released performed well.


    Uh, here’s a link to (or search for) the EU Samsung Community pages, search it for Samsung Fold.  You’ll find many many issues with the display screen, delamination of the built in screen protector, cracking of the display in cold weather, etc., not just the Fold 3 but also Flip 3.  Plus huge customer support issues trying to get warranty repairs and then having Samsung, their repair agent, or carrier blame the user for damage or abuse and charging them huge €€€ for repairs.

    I’m guessing probably the same on US Samsung Community.  I’ll link in next post.
    wonkothesanewatto_cobra
  • Reply 36 of 65
    avon b7avon b7 Posts: 6,339member
    Bart Y said:
    Your link returns just 823 results which cover the entire gamut of issues from Samsung Pay through to battery life. 

    It is your standard support issue listing that could apply to any phone from any manufacturer. 

    Like I said, nothing indicates any model is plagued by issues. 
    muthuk_vanalingam
  • Reply 37 of 65
    Bart YBart Y Posts: 42unconfirmed, member
    red oak said:
    There is almost zero evidence any of these foldable phones (including the ones from Samsung) sell in any measurable volume

    Anyone who thinks Apple is now “ too far behind” is someone you need to avoid on all things Apple 🍎 
    Roughly, the “measurable” Foldables volume is about 7-9M units total market in 2021, with Samsung maybe 85% of that total.  So about 6M-7.65M for Samsung.  Given we know Flip 3 sells 70% to Fold 3 30%, extrapolates to 4.2M-5.3M Flip models and 1.8M-2.3M Fold models over the Samsung sales season.  If my post above about reliability and customer service  issues reported by Samsung users in their own community discussion boards is true, there’s problems still which eventually will catch up with Samsung.

    Anyway, 6-9M is a terribly low number of market units to commit R&D, parts sourcing (especially fragile, low reliability and availability Samsung units), and production for Apple IF it’s to meet Apple’s standards for reliability, longevity, quality, and functionality.  Better to wait till Apple and suppliers perfect this further and even then whether it still makes any sense financially or reputation wise.  

    Last quarter Samsung touted how its Mobile division made YOY 13% more revenue on >sales of S22 Ultra and Foldables ($22.4B USD total) YET glossed over how it made ONLY $2.00B total operating profit, a drop of 19% YOY.  Foldables and S22 flagships should be the most profitable lines so either they aren’t selling well or Samsung is blustering to save face.  And I’d say <10M units is ok but not selling well enough, and certainly not enough for Apple to get into this market.
    wonkothesanewatto_cobra
  • Reply 38 of 65
    Bart YBart Y Posts: 42unconfirmed, member
    Marvin said:
    red oak said:
    There is almost zero evidence any of these foldable phones (including the ones from Samsung) sell in any measurable volume
    According to Samsung, the volume of foldable phones was 10 million in 2021:

    https://www.theverge.com/2022/7/20/23272029/samsung-tm-roh-foldable-phones-mainstream

    The following says the Galaxy Z Flip made up 4.6 million:

    https://www.phonearena.com/news/galaxy-z-flip-3-5g-most-shipped-foldable-2021_id139154

    The Z Fold and Huawei P50 were the next best sellers. Likely somewhere around 2 million each.

    Most of the foldables are for the compact phone like the old Razr phones and not like the foldable tablets. There are probably some of the over 100 million people who bought the old style flip phones and liked the form factor.

    This is a lower sales volume than the iPhone mini. If Apple wanted to cater to the audience for compact phones, they could just keep making the iPhone mini series.

    Bending any glass means making it weaker and it will crease.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=o1j8J1FDJOw
    The Verge article states two research firms believe the total market sales to be much lower, 7.1-7.9M units.  IMO, Samsung’s TM Roh is saving face or trying to inflate the numbers because Samsung has a dominant position in Foldables for now, and of course, starting from a small number, it’s easy to get huge % increases to bigger but still relatively small numbers.  For now, Foldables have “maybe” equaled the old Note line and “maybe” the S22 Ultra+ has also equaled the old Note lines of about 5-6M annual sales from 2019 prepandemic, total of 11-14M would be ecstatic for Samsung, but I’m not sure there’s evidence for that yet.  Today’s Unpacked announcement will try to frame the Foldables market size I’m sure.
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 39 of 65
    Bart YBart Y Posts: 42unconfirmed, member
    avon b7 said:
    Bart Y said:
    Your link returns just 823 results which cover the entire gamut of issues from Samsung Pay through to battery life. 

    It is your standard support issue listing that could apply to any phone from any manufacturer. 

    Like I said, nothing indicates any model is plagued by issues. 
    Well, for a €1500+ device, reliability should be first rate and if you search through for Fold Screen or Fold Display, and similarly for Flip, many many people with documented issues, some even your own countrymen.  Lots of additional posts in various other EU languages so there may be many more than a simple English search pulls up.  IMO, there are problems but the public hasn’t made the press aware…yet.  If frustration and dissatisfaction builds high enough, this may turn into a big problem, not only from an engineering standpoint, but a customer care and retention perspective.  

    Samsung isn’t above having another Note 7 or  initial Fold failure again.  IMO.
    watto_cobratmay
  • Reply 40 of 65
    DAalseth said:
    I really think Apple needs to go in a completely different direction. Rather than a sharp fold, and the resultant point of failure, how about a rolling phone? A 2-3 cm tube that snapped out flat to use. That way the stress is all across the screen so no single line will get creased, distort, or otherwise be more prone to failure. Sure they would need to figure out batteries and the circuit board, but it’s to my mind, a much more elegant solution than a crease.
    Like the "Global Link" from Earth Final Conflict?
    mattinozwatto_cobra
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