What might the Samsung Galaxy Fold mean for the future of the iPhone?
You might have heard last week that Samsung has revealed a folding phone. It's called, quite imaginatively, the Samsung Galaxy Fold, and it was announced at MWC in Barcelona last week. It's certainly an interesting idea, and it isn't the only Android device that has bendability in its unique selling points.
The question is though, what sort of response is this going to elicit from Apple? A few years ago we could say quite conclusively that the response would be non-existent, but the time when Apple was the clear leader in terms of innovation are long gone - now it plays catch-up as much as Samsung and the others.
So will we be seeing an iFold any time soon? Or might Apple respond with some new ideas of its own? Those are the questions that we're going to ponder in this article. Hopefully you'll agree with us, but if you've got your own thoughts to add to these issues, feel free to let us know in the comments section at the bottom of the article.
It's getting bigger
One thing that we've seen since the start of the smartphone era is screen sizes getting bigger and bigger. In a way, the folding phone is the logical conclusion of that trend, since it lets you fit way more screen onto a device that's only slightly bigger when it comes to pocket size.
While in the early days of the smartphone era everything was trying to be an iPhone, nowadays it's fair to say that Apple has taken ideas from left right and centre. We've had the iPad mini in the wake of the popularity of 7 inch Android tablets; we've had the iPad Pro following in the footsteps of the Surface; we've seen the Plus range of iPhones in response to the success of Samsung's phablets.
One thing you should note there though, is that Apple doesn't chase every idea that comes out. It never got into the VR market, for example, while plenty of other hardware developers did. Obviously we don't know what's been going on at Apple in secret, but even if there's a prototype foldy iPhone in Cupertino somewhere, don't expect to see it at the next Apple event.
There are a number of reasons for that, but the main one is Apple is pretty good at understanding the market. If it thinks that a foldable phone isn't going to work, then it's not going to put one into production - that might mean the company will wait and see how the Galaxy Fold and the others go before commiting fully.
How will iOS work?
Then there's the operating system. How is iOS, in its current form, going to work on a screen that's different from any other it's worked on before? And how is the aesthetic of the OS - something that's a huge part of the Apple philosophy - going to have to be adapted to make sense on a different sort of device?
Those are all massive questions that Apple is going to have to answer before an iFold makes it to market. Also, the waiting gives Apple a chance to work out what works and what doesn't on the Samsung Fold - it's great to be first out of the gate, but that means you're going to be the first one making mistakes as well.
So will Apple be building a folding phone? We imagine there's already work being conducted - not in response to Samsung's announcement, but because the folding screen is one of the potential futures of mobile technology - but we wouldn't expect Apple to rush into anything before the market has started to reveal itself.