Samsung ready to battle iPhone 13 Flip with more ‘accessible' foldable phones

iPhone 13 Flip concept
(Image credit: #iOS beta news)

Samsung has revealed it plans to bring more affordable foldable phones to the market, building upon its flagship-priced Galaxy Z Flip and the Galaxy Z Fold 2.

And with rumors swirling around Apple getting ready to enter the foldable phones arena with the iPhone Flip - or potentially the iPhone 13 Flip -  Samsung's move to make foldable devices more accessible could torpedo Apple's ambitions before it even reveals a foldable phone.  

TM Roh, president and head of Samsung's mobile communications business, explained how the company is seeing "growing momentum" with its foldable devices this year and that's fueling a move to make more affordable foldable phones. 

"We’ll be expanding our portfolio of foldables, so this groundbreaking category is more accessible to everyone," said Roh in a new Samsung report

We hope that translates into foldable phones and potentially other devices, say tablets with foldable displays, that cost less than $1,000. 

Samsung has mentioned in the past that it intended to launch more FE-branded phones after reviving the label with the Galaxy S20 FE. Therefore, these "more accessible" foldables may be something along the lines of a Galaxy Z Flip FE or Galaxy Z Fold FE, which will accompany the standard flagship versions at launch.

Beating the iPhone 13 Flip

A move by Samsung to make more affordable foldable phones could be concerning news for Apple. 

There has been no shortage of rumors about the so-called "iPhone Flip," which is set to be a Galaxy Z Flip-style foldable iPhone. 

A recent patent filed by Apple detailed a new version of its Ceramic Shield technology - first seen on the iPhone 12 - that will allow a display to be both flexible and tough. So we could expect that to make an appearance on the iPhone 13 Flip. 

It's not just patents though that hint at an incoming iPhone Flip. Apple has taken delivery of foldable displays from Samsung, and leaker Jon Prosser has allegedly seen a prototype of the phone. Interestingly, Prosser said that it's a dual-screen design rather than a folding one, which sounds more like the Microsoft Surface Duo than one of Samsung's phones.

But for all the reports and evidence of the iPhone Flip's existence, it has yet to materialize. That's a boon for a major rival like Samsung, which has already made inroads into true foldable phones. 

A now that Samsung is getting ready to expand its foldables range, it could have a suite of foldable phones at different price points, effectively flooding the market with a range of devices that Apple will need to compete with. 

But if Samsung's foldables phones are going to be challenged, Apple is the likely candidate for the job. The Cupertino company has a long-established reputation for taking its time with new gadgets and form factors and then releasing a new device that sets the standard for others to follow. 

With no hint of a release date for the iPhone Flip, Apple could be doing the same when it comes to foldable phones. But there's no denying that Samsung has stolen the march on it main rival, and could deliver a series of impressive foldable phones in 2021. 

In the meantime, we have the Samsung Galaxy S21 to look forward to, as Samsung looks poised to reveal it next flagship Galaxy phone on January 14. 

Richard Priday
Assistant Phones Editor

Richard is based in London, covering news, reviews and how-tos for phones, tablets, gaming, and whatever else people need advice on. Following on from his MA in Magazine Journalism at the University of Sheffield, he's also written for WIRED U.K., The Register and Creative Bloq. When not at work, he's likely thinking about how to brew the perfect cup of specialty coffee.