Folding iPad as a pioneer: is the foldable iPhone coming now?

Foldable smartphones are already established in the Android world, but Apple has not yet introduced an "iPhone Flip".

Folding iPad as a pioneer: is the foldable iPhone coming now?

Foldable smartphones are already established in the Android world, but Apple has not yet introduced an "iPhone Flip". Apparently Apple is working on it, as a new patent suggests. Before that happens, however, the best-known Apple analyst expects a foldable iPad.

Samsung introduced the fourth generation of its collapsible and folding smartphones Galaxy Z Flip and Galaxy Z Fold last August, Motorola also entered 2019 with the new edition of the Razr, Oppo's new Find N2 Flip starts in Europe with prices around 1000 euros . The technology is mature, the prices of the devices are no higher than other top smartphones. So, when will Apple finally get out of the fold?

Well, apparently it's taking longer than expected. The unerring analyst Ming-Chi Kuo wrote last spring that he does not expect a foldable iPhone before 2025. He had previously assumed that an 8-inch device would be launched on the market in the coming year.

However, Apple could still introduce a first device with a flexible display as early as 2024, but not a foldable iPhone. Kuo recently predicted he was fairly certain Apple would unveil the first foldable iPad in the coming year, which could be a big hit. And the KGI-Securities analyst already has a small detail about the upcoming Apple folder ready: The device is said to have a light and particularly stable folding stand made of carbon fiber.

At the moment, it doesn't make sense for Apple to release a foldable iPhone, CCS Insight analyst Ben Wood said in a CNBC interview last October. It would be risky for the company to introduce such a device now, he explained. Above all, it would have to be enormously expensive in order not to cannibalize the existing iPhones. He estimates $2,500 for the USA, almost $900 more than the most expensive iPhone Pro Max. In Germany, that would be €2,700. In addition, it would be a godsend for critics if Apple had technical problems with a foldable iPhone, says Wood.

Tim Cook

With its hesitation, however, Apple is also increasing the pressure on itself. Unlike the iPhone or iPad, an "iPhone Flip" is not coming to a market with immature devices. Doing it better than Samsung, Oppo or Motorola will be anything but easy.

How a foldable iPhone will look like and what could make it special is still completely open. "Appleinsider" expects that it will differ only slightly from a normal iPhone, except for the folding function. One of the critical points is the hinge, which is expected to be a new, innovative and better mechanism than existing devices.

The most likely form factor is a folding smartphone, i.e. an iPhone that is folded along the transverse axis. This is also indicated by a recently published Apple patent. According to Macworld, the authors appear to be describing a hinge and touch controls on the outer surfaces of a foldable device. However, it is not clear whether this is a smartphone patent - it could just as well describe a folding iPad. As usual, the patent drawings have little in common with a realistic design.

The patent also describes how a device can be controlled via touch-sensitive pages. According to "CNBC", for example, it could be about controlling the volume by swiping your finger up and down. That would be consistent with Kuo anticipating that upcoming iPhone Pro models will no longer have physical buttons. It is only logical that a foldable iPhone two years later only has touch surfaces - if it actually comes.