These 3 massive smartphone and tablet breakthroughs didn't happen in 2022, but likely will in 2023!

This article may contain personal views and opinion from the author.
These 3 massive smartphone and tablet breakthroughs didn't happen in 2022, but likely will in 2023!
Here we are – already in the last few weeks of 2022. How this year flew by! And what a year it's been – we got new iPads that finally dropped the Lightning port, a new and exciting generation of foldable phones by Samsung, new Pixels by Google, and so much more…

The tech world is always buzzing; there are always exciting things going on with both our favorite, popular brands, and the more niche ones, usually out of China. For example, Vivo's upcoming X90 Pro Plus phone recently made waves due to a bold promise to beat iPhone and Galaxy phones with its insane 1-inch main camera and up to 100X zoom!

But where there's excitement and actual releases, at the end of each year we also have plenty of forgotten promises to look back on, that never materialized. Exciting new concepts that we thought would finally make it in 2022, but clearly – they didn't.

Let's talk about the coolest trends some of us expected to change the world this year, but alas… And let's consider whether 2023 will be the one, where we finally get…

Rollable phones in 2023

I hope you didn't roll out the red carpet for rollable phones in 2022, because they not only didn't happen, but rolled out of everyone's minds in the last few months. And it's a roll of the dice whether rollables will materialize in 2023. LG's mobile division is rolling in its grave right now, wondering how come nobody else picked up the rolling phone concept, after its own LG Rollable failed to reach the market.

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All we have to go by is this nearly-finished LG Rollable unit that popped up online, in a Korean YouTube channel that did a whole review of the promising phone:

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As we can see, the LG Rollable phone was very near completion, but unfortunately, right before its release LG decided to close its mobile division and stop trying to participate (and lose money) in the ever so highly competitive mobile phone market.

Bad news for LG fans, and fans of unique smartphones in general, because LG was seemingly throwing everything at the wall to see if it sticks – the weird dual-screen LG Wing phone, then the almost-released LG Rollable… Who knows what could've been next?

Before it became painfully clear that the LG Rollable won't make it, plenty of other phone makers were supposedly working on their own rollable phones too. Samsung, Huawei, Oppo, and others are almost certainly either working on rollable phone concepts right now, or at the very least – did so in the past few years.

Most recently a Motorola concept rollable phone got showcased, among other rollable-screen devices, during the 2022 Lenovo Tech World event. And as you can see below, it looks pretty much ready for market:

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So what's stopping brands like Moto to actually release a device like this in 2022, and see if the people like it? After all, Samsung's foldable Galaxy Z Flip 4 is living proof that trendy, ultra-compact phones are very sought-after. So why not make a compact rollable phone to compete with it, and possibly even outsell it, tech Gods willing?

We'll find out very soon, won't we? One thing's for sure – the technology seems ready. Now the questions are – are brands ready to risk it, and are we – the consumers – ready to buy it?

Folding tablets – Samsung and Apple may surprise us in 2023; reputable leakers said so

Evidently Apple may still have a foldable iPhone in the works, but fairly unfounded claims of foldable iPads were thrown around recently too. Which is enough to get our imaginations go wild – imagine an iPhone that can unfold into a fully-functional, productivity-ready iPad! Or, you know – entertainment-ready. Whatever floats your boat.

Of course, Samsung already beat Apple to the punch, and not even recently. The amazing Galaxy Z Fold 4 is basically that – an Android smartphone that unfolds into a tablet, and can do so much! From the basics – such as split-screen and multi-window multitasking, to transforming into a full ChromeOS-like device, with a similar interface, thanks to Samsung DeX. It even has stylus support! Whatever you may need – it has it!

The cynic in me is almost certain that Apple will never do anything like this, because Apple has made it perfectly clear that it aims to sell you distinctly different devices. You get an iPhone, an iPad, and a MacBook, and they all serve different purposes. Not like Samsung, which is ready to give you (or at least attempt to give you) all three in just a single device.

So the idea that Apple would be willing to sacrifice some iPhone sales, and potentially a lot of iPad sales, by offering a device that combines both, seems very unrealistic to me.

However, one reputable leaker – Display Supply Chain Consultants' Ross Young – did notably state that Apple seems to be working on an iPad/MacBook hybrid with a 20-inch screen. The news came early this year, in February to be precise, and here we are in December with nothing to show for it. However, new tech takes time, and whether Apple will actually go through with this concept, and surprise us with a folding iPad-slash-MacBook in 2023 is anyone's guess.

I'll just point out that folding laptops already exist, such as the Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Fold. So if Apple gives up on this concept, I doubt it'll be because the technology isn't ready yet, but perhaps that other reason I mentioned earlier.

Thankfully, Apple isn't the only tablet-making brand in the world, even though it dominates the market for sure.

If we look towards our friends from the free Korea again – Samsung is also purportedly working on a foldable tablet. This intel came out this August, courtesy of another trusted leaker – IceUniverse. According to him, a Galaxy Tab Fold could be coming in 2023, to be released alongside the regular Galaxy Tab S9.

So start hedging your bets whether Samsung or Apple will be first to release a folding tablet in 2023, but my money is on Samsung!

Augmented reality (AR) to complement your smartphone, and eventually replace it

To be fair, we're already seeing AR quietly but firmly making its way onto a small, niche group of tech enthusiasts' faces. This year, perhaps most notably, Meta (formerly Facebook) released the AR Meta Quest Pro headset, which, unlike the popular Quest 2 virtual reality headset, is all about augmented reality instead. Meaning, instead of blocking your view of the real world and replacing it with a fully digital one, Meta's AR headset does what AR headsets do – overlay digital objects over your view of the real world.

In addition, a smaller company that nobody had previously heard of, Nreal, released the Nreal Air AR glasses, and thanks to an effective campaign of giving those away to influencers (including YouTube reviewers), the Nreal Air could be considered 2022's most affordable and straightforward consumer AR product.

What the Nreal Air glasses do is basically mirror your phone's display, so they could be a great way to watch content on the go (e.g. on a plane flight) without having to stare down at an iPad or your tiny phone display. But eventually, AR glasses, such as the likely-to-come-soon Apple AR glasses will do a lot more than just mirror your phone's display in front of your retinas.

Yet another trusted leaker, Ming-Chi Kuo, sees Apple's headset delayed until the second half of 2023 due to huge shortfall in shipments expected, but the important thing to note is the year there – 2023! Yes, next year could be the year Apple finally decides to attempt to change our world, by introducing its fabled AR glasses. The ones we've heard so much about over the last three or so years.

The not-so-great news is an accompanying rumor that those Apple AR glasses could cost $3,000, which is way, way more than we expected over the years. And calling this device "glasses" could be misleading too, because it might easily just be a headset, quite similar to Meta's Quest Pro – meaning not a lightweight device you'll be wearing outside.

It's been a mess of leaks and rumors, so whether Apple actually releases lightweight glasses or a chunky headset, and for what exact purpose – only time will show. But again, the good news is that the wait for this potentially "next big thing" is seemingly almost over.

And ultimately, 2023 is shaping up to be very exciting. Perhaps the most exciting year we've had in decades, so stay tuned!

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