Apple sometimes screws up, but it generally tries to make products that will work without repairs for years. And for the past two decades, designers have been obsessed with making new devices thinner and slimmer than what came before.
So if you've been following the troubled launches of Samsung's Galaxy Fold and Huawei's Mate X foldable tablets, that attitude alone should explain why Apple probably won't release a foldable iPhone or iPad at any time. And kludgy board screen technologies are just part of the reason why I openly mock the investment research firm UBS (via CNBC) new claims that Apple could have such a device by 2020 and that a large number of Apple fans would be willing to pay a premium at $ 600 for a folding iPhone.
Think back for a moment past iPhone and iPod launches, as Apple executives often pulled devices out of their pockets and resorted to highlighting their ideal sizes ̵
And the hardware part of the story. Would Apple consider launching a hybrid phone and tablet just after sharing iOS in separate versions of iPhone (iOS) and iPad (iPadOS)? If it were to be a device that switched between factors such as phone and tablet forms coming out anytime soon, Apple wouldn't have clouded the software water that way.
I do not question Apple engineers working with folding devices. Patent applications provide a trace of paper, and the company has every reason to explore what tablet screens can lead to phones, tablets and laptops. Just off the top of my head, they could dramatically enhance the virtual keyboard experience on all of these platforms, enabling a complete rethink of how the surface works for apps, games and videos. At some point it will happen; The screens and their protective glass or plastic layers will be so thin, energy efficient and resilient that foldability will make complete sense.
But that is not the case today and probably will not be for the next year or two. Collapsible screen technology is at best half-baked and guaranteed all the necessary repairs to the decking material and / or hinges. Questionable reliability aside, early Samsung and Huawei devices are also kludgy in a way that most consumers would not consider appealing – a step back from the simple glass shifts people now routinely have in their pockets.
UBS's suggestion that people today, on average, are willing to pay a premium of $ 400- $ 500 for a foldable device over a standard smartphone – and $ 600 for an Apple version – is anything but laughter. In many countries, including some of the world's largest smartphone markets, Apple was forced to introduce trade-in programs and shave down prices to revive interest in its latest iPhones. There are limits to how much most people will pay for these devices, and that's why Apple continues to sell $ 500 phones while aggressively marketing $ 750 and $ 1000 models.
Granted, if Apple can find a way to deliver a collapsible, pocketable device with computer class functionality, you might be trying to charge Mac-style pricing for such a product. And sure enough, Apple customers may be more willing than others to pay any premium for it.
Currently, however, Apple already has solutions for people who want to spend $ 1,600 or more on a slanted phone: buy both an iPhone and iPad, or an iPhone and Mac, if not all three. It has been the company's pitch for a decade, and will continue to be so until the tablet screen technology becomes practical enough to be used in truly mass market devices.
When this happens, as indicated in the supply chain, reports of availability of new parts can safely add a year or two of Apple engineering and development delay before an actual product comes on the market. In other words, don't hold your breath for a folding Apple device next year, or even in UBS & # 39; s more likely 2021 timeframe. There is only speculation, and from most available evidence, not particularly realistic.