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Apple to Launch 8-Inch Foldable iPhone in 2023 (macrumors.com)
17 points by elsewhen 12 days ago | hide | past | favorite | 39 comments





It doesn't make sense yet (if ever).

I buy they're prototyping it, but launching? That's a long shot. The tech is nowhere near ready for them yet.

They're extremely fragile, the screens have weird artifacts near the fold, water resistance is awful, scratch resistance is awful, usability sucks.

Physics really doesn't want you to build a foldable smartphone, and in any case it's mostly a gimmick. The UX is not better, it's arguably worse.


> Physics really doesn't want you to build a foldable smartphone

That’s the kind of statement Apple would use in its presentations, just before they would reveal that they built it anyway.


What if you had two separate computers wirelessly synchronized? None of the problems you mentioned, except maybe a hinge, and I trust Apple can get that much right. Such a device would be great for something like reading books.

You use an iPad for reading. I don't see it. It truly should feel magic for it to make sense in an Apple device.

The crease in the fold should be non-existent: no color bleeding, no weird reflections, it must be a perfectly flat screen. Apple extremely picky about image quality.

Also, water and dust resistance must be amazing.

They already sold a phone with a folded screen before (iPhone X has a fold at the bottom to hide control lines), so they may be looking at the tech with a different use case in mind.

For example I could see them looking at foldable screen tech to make the bezel disappear (iPhone X screen trick, but taken to the extreme).

Picture an iPad/iPhone which is just a perfectly flat piece of screen, no bezel (or a very thin one), no notch, no edge aberrations (like the curved screens some smartphones have). Essentially Job's vision.


So full of questions on this form factor, I’m not sure where to begin.

How do the ergonomics of a foldable phone work out? I assume it’s generally optimized for bigger screen capability in a phablet mode, but would it make sense to have it fold to become more portable like a flip phone?

Do the phones become more fragile from drops or subject to scratching due to having screen on both front and back? (Edit: Looking at the Samsung Fold, the main screen is actually inside the fold, so maybe not?)


Screens are not at all durable. Surface has to be pliable for obvious reasons which makes it susceptible to scratching. Even a finger nail run down the screen can permanently mark it if the galaxy fold is anything to go by.

I’m not quite sure of the use case for these devices really.


> but would it make sense to have it fold to become more portable like a flip phone?

That's what the new Motorala Razr is.


wow I just learned about Samsung Fold. That thing is wild. They even managed to put front facing camera behind the screen.

https://youtu.be/kMJEYDZT_JE?t=230


Based on previous experience with Samsung devices, absolutely do not buy any based on promises the company makes about the future. Buy it based on what is proven to work today(probably good advice in general, but plenty of people have been burned by Samsungs promises).

The link is about the third edition of Samsung Fold.

It was launched more than 2 years ago. Shouldn't be hard to check how it went.


I'm not sold on Samsung's "behind the screen" anything. The fingerprint sensor in my wife's phone is embedded in the screen, and it just doesn't work. The sensor on the back of the phone was much, much better.

curious what model is it? no problems at all with S10

This rumour is the best thing that could happen to Samsungs foldable phones

The Galaxy Z line just went from "expensive gimmick" to "the future of phones"


This is like saying the iPad was the best thing that could happen to X Company’s tablet (I can’t even think of another one).

iPads have continued to advance and take market share while other options seem to die off due to lack of public interest.


You might be living in a bubble :)

ipad market share is around 30%, and that with Google and Samsung doing their best to ignore this market:

https://www.idc.com/getdoc.jsp?containerId=prUS47648021

(Funny thing, "iPad" is autocorrected to "I pad" on my tablet, I think Samsung is playing dirty tricks)


Hmm seems like I just have conflicting numbers: https://www.statista.com/statistics/1120402/market-share-tab...

Why conflicting?

These two reports measure different things (I assume it's something like actual sales vs web traffic) but they are not that far apart: 31.6% vs 36.5% market share for ipad.


The "SDC" in the article is presumably "Samsung Display Corporation", so I guess they R&D'ed the foldable display. I wonder why they wouldn't want to keep a monopoly of this tech for their own phones, and why they'd be willing to sell it to Apple...

But I guess it's clear, the iFoldPhones will sell a lot more units than the Samsung ones and Samsung will still earn that supplier money, and when Apple announces it, it'll be advertisement for Samsung's own fold phones for people who prefer Android.


> I wonder why they wouldn't want to keep a monopoly of this tech for their own phones, and why they'd be willing to sell it to Apple.

The division that manufactures the displays wants them to be as ubiquitous as possible, since they're looking to sell as many screens as they can.


Yeah they've had a strong display partnership for a long time.

samsung is a multi-armed beast, and a lot of their profits come from being a component maker for other companies.

Maybe if they don't sell it Apple will eventually just re-implement the technology, so by selling it now they come out ahead?

Apple don't make screens at all so the best they can do is buy it from Samsung like they do with all the other iDevices.

I think this will be attractive to the aging population, I have older clients who constantly complain about being unable to read text on their phones and a full tablet is just too big to carry around conveniently.

A properly-implemented folding phone that is 8 inches open but pocket-able when folded will get quite a bit of interest.


So what’s the track record for this Ming-Chi Kuo person?

I see a strong incentive to make crazy, interesting, far-into-the-future predictions in order to increase ad click revenue.


Very good, likely the best https://appletrack.com/ming-chi-kuo/

He’s an analyst who specializes in supply chain analysis.

He's easily the best known person for apple leaks

I'm interested to see how they'd solve the camera module issue.

Current gen iPhones already don't sit flat on a table because the rear camera modules are too thick, this is typically solved via a [required] case. But with a folding phone the two halves must have symmetrical depth and building cases for a folding phone itself is complex.

So either the new phone would need to be thick enough for a flat back w/camera module (which would make the whole phone incredibly thick), they need a new thinner module (but with optical sacrifices?), or a case that can hide the imbalance (but again, thickness).

A lot of companies have tried to make folding phones with mixed successes but keeping a GOOD camera seems to be a hurdle. Cameras really benefit greatly from depth, physics doesn't care about your design goals.

PS - What happened to Lytro's[0] IP after they went under? I know staff went to work at Google, but the underlying technology/IP must be owned by someone.

[0] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lytro


> Kuo predicts that foldable smartphones will become a "must-have" for all major smartphone brands and will boost the next "super replacement cycle"

I wonder why they feel this way, foldable hasn’t exactly been a home run for Samsung.


Apple has a good track record of taking something that failed to catch on initially and then making it the must-have commodity.

And the common reasoning/criticism given is that Apple has good marketing and status but I think the real truth is that on average Apple’s products are executed well.

I have a Tile that I’ve used for a few years now and I’ve stopped relying on it because it simply doesn’t work. I could care less about the social network, just the super basic “tell it to make my keys make noise because they’re in a 20ft radius of me.”

I got an AirTag last week and it actually works. Every time. From the two furthest corners of my apartment and buried in my closet. It really is crazy how much of an advantage Apple has by designing their own hardware.


Not just designing their own hardware, but owning the full software stack, too. I wonder if it'd even be possible to implement an AirTag equivalent on iOS using only the publicly available bluetooth functionality.

Neither were smart watches until the Apple Watch.

In 2 years, I can't wait to hear from The Verge about how Apple courageously 'pioneered' the foldable phone concept.

That being said, I am totally for it. I'm planning on buying the Z Fold 3 (whenever it comes out) as long as it maintains feature parity with this years Galaxy devices. I'll probably suffer some 1st adopter's growing pains, but that's expected.

I foresee inking and OCR technology picking up if 8 inch form-factors become the norm in the near future.


If they do it, they'll likely be the first ones that do it right (or as right as possible).

Before the iPod, MP3 players sucked.

Before the iPhone, smartphones sucked.

Before the MacBook notebooks sucked (still, sleep and touchpads don't work right on most notebooks but Macs).

They don't do it first, they just make it right. Break it down to the essentials, and iterate obsessively over every detail and get it done in a way that works for most people (that can afford it). They never concern themselves with large feature lists, just do the few things that are essential right.

Granted, they are not perfect, but f**k they do get close.


While I don't doubt that Apple is looking at foldable phones, 2023 is still far enough out that a lot can change between now and then.

Would this be before, after or at the same time as the Apple car?

No sale unless the geometry gives vastly more screen area for 16:9 video when unfolded and is thin enough to be pocketable. Until then, iPhone Mini and laptop for me.



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