One thing that’s increasingly separated Apple from its chief rival, Samsung, has been folding technology. Samsung introduced its first folding phone, appropriately named the Samsung Galaxy Fold, in 2019 and has been improving on it ever since. The first version had its problems to be sure, and in fact Samsung pulled it from sale just days before it was due on store shelves because reviewers were complaining the screens on units they’d been sent early were breaking.
The Fold and its svelter cousin, the Galaxy Flip — a flip phone that folds a somewhat normal-sized smartphone screen in half — have their fans, but they’re by no means mainstream. Part of the reason is their price. The Fold first went on sale for nearly $2,000 two years ago. The Galaxy Fold 3, released in 2021, dropped that price to $1,800, where it remained this year.
“I do think it’s a fair price for what you get in 2022, which is a premium phone made with parts that are unique, cutting-edge and expensive,” CNET reviewer Patrick Holland wrote. “But so is a Ferrari SF90 Spider, and that costs over half a million dollars. Despite my crush, I won’t be buying the Fold 4 or a Ferrari anytime soon. And we are still years away from a foldable phone being affordable to most people.
Amid all this, Apple’s been rumored to be working on a folding phone, but it hasn’t actually discussed the technology publicly at all. And considering the struggles Galaxy Fold users still have with the screen’s fragile nonglass cover, as well as the prominent crease appearing in their screen, it’s no wonder Apple’s opted to keep its version in the development labs for now.
Still, nearly any sci-fi nerd will note that folding technology certainly has its place. Many futuristic ideas for computers have included being able to fold them up into easily portable devices. Some stories, such as Battlestar Galactica prequel Caprica, go a step further by building a computer into a folded-up piece of paper. Unfold the paper, and suddenly you have a tablet or laptop-sized screen.
Unfortunately, technology hasn’t caught up — yet.