It’s a good time for foldable phones right now. That’s because for once consumers have several good options from which to choose. Having reviewed the Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 5 and Motorola Razr+, I think Apple has a strong chance at overtaking the flip-style foldable space with a rumored iPhone Flip.
I’ve detailed how Samsung and Motorola's latest foldable flip phones stack against each other in my face-off comparison, so Apple could take the opportunity to learn what people want in a flip style foldable.
Rumors around the iPhone Flip continue to swirl as we head into the fall, and with Apple’s iPhone 15 event speculated for September 13, we could very well be given a teaser of some sort about a foldable device. I think it’s inevitable for Apple to release one, especially when you look back at the company’s history. There were smartphones long before the original iPhone, but Apple took its time, and now most every smartphone has aped Apple's design — for better or worse.
That same could happen with the iPhone Flip. Here’s what I think the iPhone Flip needs in order to beat current foldables like the Galaxy Z Flip 5 and Razr+.
Dynamic Island on an outer screen
Whether you religiously use it or not, I think the iPhone’s Dynamic Island would be more appropriate on the back of an iPhone Flip — somewhere closer to its cameras. While I do appreciate how the Motorola Razr+’s large outer screen offers access to all apps, I don’t think Apple would be as inclined to follow the same approach.
That’s because Apple isn’t much about having all the bells and whistles in its iPhones, but rather, focusing the attention more on the experience. We’ve seen this before in how Apple transformed mobile web browsing with mobile Safari and multi-touch gestures, along with FaceTime and how it revolutionized the way we video chat.
Rather than giving users access to all their apps on the outer screen, Apple could enhance the Dynamic Island experience in such a way that's more usable.
Longer battery life
There’s no arguing that today’s foldables still need a lot of work before they’re contenders for the best phone battery life. You’d have to opt for mini-tablet foldables like the Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 5 or Google Pixel Fold in order to get extended battery life.
|Row 0 - Cell 0||Battery size||Battery life (Hrs:Mins)||Charging rate|
|Z Flip 5||3,700 mAh||9:53||25W (wired), 15W (wireless|
|Razr+||3,800 mAh||10:09||30W (wired), 5W (wireless)|
|iPhone 14 Pro||N/A||10:13||20W (wired), 15W (MagSafe), 7.5W (wireless)|
|iPhone 14 Pro Max||N/A||13:39||20W (wired), 15W (MagSafe), 7.5W (wireless)|
Nevertheless, the iPhone Flip could improve in this area against the battery life of the Galaxy Z Flip 5 and Razr+. In Tom’s Guide’s battery benchmark test, both flip style foldables lasted about 10 hours. The iPhone Flip’s success in this area will mainly hinge on a couple of factors: how thin it’ll be and what size battery it’ll hold.
As I look at my iPhone 14 Pro next to the Razr+ on my desk, I can see Apple’s flagship is thicker in size. Just for context, the iPhone 14 Pro achieved an outstanding mark of 10 hours and 13 minutes. If Apple were to keep the iPhone Flip’s overall size similar to the iPhone 14 Pro, it would automatically have a leg up against the competition.
One of the coolest features I’ve tried on the Razr+ and Galaxy Z Flip 5 are how apps are optimized for their respective flex modes, along with enhanced multitasking that can run up to three apps simultaneously. Apple’s iPhones have never been big on true multitasking, but it would be the natural evolution for an iPhone Flip.
Not only should native apps get optimized layouts when the iPhone Flip is folded halfway (like the calendar, email, and FaceTime apps), but it’d be nice to finally get true side-by-side multitasking on the iPhone. The iPad has long offered it and the iPhone’s overdue for it. I personally can’t believe we’ve been content with app switching on the iPhone for this long — something that was first introduced back with iOS 4.
This would probably be the most important new feature to take the iPhone to the next level, and for a foldable, it would absolutely be necessary. SharePlay would inherently be even more functional on a foldable iPhone Flip, such as being able to FaceTime with another iPhone user while sharing your screen with them.
iPhone Flip outlook
It’s hard to tell if Apple will tease us with an iPhone Flip during its fall iPhone 15 fall event. However, it could make for the perfect “one more thing” teaser at the end of the event — much like the Apple Vision Pro’s announcement at WWDC 2023. That could pave the way for a release in 2024, but the question would be exactly when. If Apple waits until its usual fall iPhone event, it would compete with all the other iPhones. Perhaps it could be released in the first half of the year? That would be just the right amount of separation.
Beyond its expected announcement and release date, the other thing I’m curious about is its price. Apple has the potential to dominate the foldables market if this iPhone Flip hones in on all the points I’ve detailed. But ultimately, it’s going to come down to price. If rumors about the iPhone 15 Pro Max leaning closer to $1,299 do turn out true, it could give Apple the justification to position the iPhone Flip in between the iPhone 15 Pro and iPhone 15 Pro Max — effectively at that $1,100 (assuming the iPhone 15 Pro stays at $999).
Whatever happens, I’m confident that Apple will spur the adoption rate for foldables.