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I'm ready for a foldable iPhone, so what's Apple waiting for?

iphone flip concept
(Image credit: Technizo Concept/LetsGoDigital)

Do I really want the Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 3, or am I just jealous there’s no foldable iPhone yet?

I brought this question to Twitter last week after Samsung’s new clamshell foldable, along with the Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 3, debuted. As it turns out, a good number of people share my envy.

Since the original Samsung Galaxy Fold, I’ve watched Samsung unleash foldable after foldable. In the weeks following each announcement, I’ve questioned whether a foldable phone is something I want, or if I’m simply swept up in the hype. 

Price usually dampened my temporary desire. The first Samsung Galaxy Z Flip started at $1,380, while the Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 2 cost $1,799. For comparison, my iPhone 12 Pro Max with 256GB of storage cost a softer $1,199. Samsung just changed the game by starting the latest Galaxy Z Flip 3 at $999 — less than the entry-level 12 Pro Max.

With the issue of price diffused, I’ve been able to better gauge my interest in Samsung’s new smartphones. Beyond the wow-factor of an unfolding display, the biggest reason I like foldables is my affinity for large screens. The Galaxy Z Flip 3’s interior display is the same size as my iPhone 12 Pro Max’s: 6.7 inches. The Galaxy Z Fold 3 opens to an epic 7.6 inches. The best part? These phones also offer pocket-friendly forms. 

I know a few of my colleagues aren’t sold on foldables, arguing the category needs more time to mature. I’m not as skeptical, but I am faced with the limitations of my brand loyalty.

Several signs point to Apple working on an iPhone Flip or some kind of foldable iPhone. When it does materialize, I’m sure the company will list a dozen reasons why all prior foldable smartphones got it wrong. Apple has a history of playing it safe with certain products, not worried about being first to release dates if it means getting the given product right. I’m sure the infamous bendgate fiasco of 2016 contributes to Apple’s unhurried approach, too.

As much as I want the first foldable iPhone to be practically perfect, I also want one now. I’m even willing to see an experimental version, first. The Galaxy Z Flip 3 and Z Fold 3 (but mostly the $999 Z Flip 3) are convincing me more than any other handsets that switching to Android would be worthwhile.

Where's my foldable iPhone?

Though it'd be nice for Apple's foldable strategy to cater to my very personal impatience, it's more likely the company is casting a larger net when considering its foldable timeline.

In a survey of 2,000 people conducted by YouGov earlier this year, only 13% of iPhone owners are 'very interested' in buying a foldable phone. Meanwhile, 26% of the same demographic is 'not interested at all' in folding devices. Another 22% of iPhone users said they are 'not very interested.'

I think these iPhone users need to see an actual folding iPhone before knowing they want it. The iPhone's design has inspired intense brand allegiance, mostly because the iPhone 12 lineup look is still reminiscent of the first-generation. You know an iPhone when you see an iPhone, no matter the year it came out.

A folding iPhone would deviate from the product's iconic design. It's complicated to ask someone if they're interested in buying something unfamiliar, or something that would look significantly different from what they already know.

Still, I wonder if Samsung's new foldables would change the survey results. Now that it's possible to get a foldable phone for less than $1,000, would iPhone users have a different opinion? It has certainly piqued my interest.

Kate Kozuch

Kate Kozuch is a senior writer at Tom’s Guide covering wearables, TVs and everything smart-home related. When she’s not in cyborg mode, you can find her on an exercise bike or channeling her inner celebrity chef. She and her robot army will rule the world one day, but until then, reach her at kate.kozuch@futurenet.com.