Tipster explains why Apple is waiting before it releases a foldable iPhone

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Tipster explains why Apple is waiting before it releases a foldable iPhone
With the Google Pixel Fold apparently once again in play, this would seem an apropos time to discuss the rumored, nay, long-rumored foldable iPhone. Tipster DylanDKT (via AppleInsider) says that Apple is in the process of testing several prototypes which is the same rumor that we've been hearing about for some time now. The question, which apparently is unresolved, is whether Apple wants its foldable iPhone to turn from an iPhone to an iPad, or flip open to go from a small pocketable square to an iPhone.

Tipster says that Apple isn't sure that the demand for foldable phones is a sustainable trend


Regardless of which form factor Apple chooses, the release of a foldable iOS powered device remains years away. The tipster wrote that Apple is "definitely working and testing multiple prototypes with certain foldable displays." But the most interesting part of his tip is when he says that Apple is not yet sure that the demand for foldable handsets is a sustainable trend.

Even though Samsung itself published a blog post to state that deliveries of its foldables soared by 400% last year, and that consumers are switching brands just to get their hands on innovative foldable phones, the tipster says that Apple's position is that "There are also concerns as to whether foldable smartphones will continue to have a place in the market or will fall into obsolescence."

In other words, it appears that Apple isn't sure that the foldable smartphone market can be sustained and that there might not be enough consumers out there willing to spend big bucks on these devices. It's the old "just because we could doesn't mean we should" statement that fictional character Dr. Ian Malcolm (played superbly by Jeff Goldblum in Jurassic Park) said about InGen scientists using Dinosaur DNA to create a theme park.

That iconic comment went, "Your scientists were so pre-occupied with whether they could that they didn't stop to think if they should." However, it would seem that Samsung's shipment data would indicate that there is a legitimate demand for foldable phones. Apple seems to be sitting back, watching its rivals, and taking notes about any mistakes that they make in this sector of the smartphone industry so as not to repeat them.

The tipster adds that Apple's concern is to make sure that a foldable handset "is not a regression from the current form factor of the iPhone." Other tipsters  expect Apple to deliver a foldable phone by 2023 at the earliest. The company has applied for several patents and has also been awarded some for innovations related to a foldable phone. In November, the company was awarded a patent for a hinge made up of composite materials making it lighter and not as bulky.

Kuo expects Apple to ship 15 million to 20 million foldables in 2023


As Apple said in the patent, "If care is not taken, hinge structures may be bulky, weak, and prone to slippage. This can make it difficult to use a laptop computer or other electronic device into which the hinge structures have been incorporated."

This past July, TF International's reliable analyst Ming-Chi Kuo, forecast that Apple will ship 15 million to 20 million foldable iPhones in 2023. Kuo believes that Apple has decided to use a form factor for its foldable that is similar to the Galaxy Z Fold instead of the clamshell fold used on the Galaxy Z Flip. He states that the 8-inch internal tablet-sized screen will be supplied by Samsung.

Kuo also stated that even though Samsung currently owns a huge chunk of the foldable market, when the dust settles Apple will end up as the leader in foldables thanks to its cross-product eco-system.
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