I’m still dubious that Apple plans a foldable iPhone, but I could be wrong. A recent consumer survey conducted by Counterpoint Research spotlights a strong interest in foldable smartphones among Chinese consumers.
As many as 64% of smartphone users in the $400 and above price bracket in China are considering foldables for their next purchase, with 20% already committed to the idea and an additional 44% weighing it as an option.
Android users’ interest in foldable smartphones is higher at 71%, while it is 58% for iOS users. This interest in foldables is particularly pronounced among current foldable phone users in the survey, who are eager to continue their experience with the emerging technology.
Counterpoint says that though the big screen size of foldables attracts smartphone users, this enthusiasm is tempered by concerns over durability, prominence of the crease and the bulkiness of the device when the screen is folded, which are seen as the main barriers to widespread adoption.
The Sellers Research Group (that’s me) thinks we’ll see a curved iPhone before a foldable one. Why?
As noted by the Make Use Of website, since the screen on a foldable phone folds and unfolds several times a day, it wrinkles down the middle and leaves a noticeable crease. This can prove to be interrupting in daily use as you slide your finger across the screen.
Also, as the article notes, dust is a big problem for foldable phones because they have a lot of moving parts. If any small dust particle enters the phone body via any one of its openings, it can cause problems and potentially kill the device.
Finally, Make Use Of notes that making a foldable phone means sacrificing a lot of internal real estate to house all the moving parts. The hinge itself takes up a lot of space.
“Due to this, foldable phones often have mediocre battery life—at least not as good as what they could have if the moving parts didn’t take up so much space,” notes Make Use Of.
As for an “iPhone Curve,” Apple has filed for various patents that hint at a curved iPhone with a wraparound display. For example, patent filing 202200111822 is for an “electronic device with wrap around display.” It’s designed to expand “the functionality of portable electronics devices by providing a more efficient mechanism for presenting visual content is disclosed.