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While Apple has yet to release a foldable iPhone, Samsung is about to unveil a new series of foldables for the third consecutive year at its Unpacked event on August 10. Meanwhile, Samsung's mobile president TM Roh believes that we are already seeing the mainstream acceptance of foldable smartphones play out as consumers switch to the devices in increasing numbers.

Foldable-iPhone-2023-Feature-Blue.jpg

In a blog post titled "The Mainstream Moment for Foldable Smartphones is Here," Roh says that nearly 10 million foldable smartphones were shipped worldwide in 2021, a figure that is 300 percent higher than the previous year. "I predict this fast-paced growth will continue," says Roh. "We are reaching the moment where these foldable devices are becoming widespread and staking a bigger claim in the overall smartphone market."

As The Verge notes, Samsung's figures could be slightly inflated: Display analyst Ross Young believes 7.9 million foldables were shipped last year, while IDC believes the actual number to be around the 7.1 million mark. Either way, when you compare it to the 272 million smartphones that Samsung alone shipped in 2021, Roh's figure doesn't sound quite so impressive.

Nevertheless, foldable adoption by consumers is steadily increasing, and Samsung has a clear foothold on the market. According to Young, brand Samsung was on 87.8 percent of all foldable phones shipped in 2021, while Huawei only accounted for 9.3 percent of shipments, with Xiaomi, Royole, and Oppo taking even tinier shares.

According to IDC, overall shipments are expected to reach an estimated 27.6 million in 2025, which makes it seem more likely that Apple's entrance into the foldable market is just a question of when. Indeed, Apple is known to have been working on foldable display technology for some years now, filing multiple patents regarding the technology. Analyst ‌Ming-Chi Kuo‌ said in April that Apple is actively testing a foldable display, although he believes Apple's first foldable device may be a hybrid ‌iPhone‌ and ‌iPad‌, or simply a foldable ‌iPad‌.

Young said earlier this year that Apple's long-rumored foldable ‌iPhone‌ has been delayed until 2025. The news of the delay reportedly came after discussions with supply chain sources, suggesting that Apple is in no hurry to enter the foldable market. Until then, Samsung will continue to do its best to capture even more of a growing market, beginning with two new Galaxy Z Fold and Z Flip models which are expected to be released next month.

Article Link: Samsung Claims Foldable Phones Are Going Mainstream
 

BootsWalking

macrumors 68020
Feb 1, 2014
2,151
13,349
I have only ever seen the Galaxy Z Flip out in the wild and I could not believe something like that is being sold and that customers don't seem to mind it either? All I saw was this big ass line across the screen when a friend showed me some photos on the phone.
All I saw on the iPhone X was the notch across the screen. I grew accustomed to it.
 

kc9hzn

macrumors 65816
Jun 18, 2020
1,105
1,161
At best, folding displays might be popular among the annual upgrade crowd (which isn’t particularly mainstream). They’re still far too disposable for most people (based on upgrade patterns), I think. And smartphones really shouldn’t be treated as being disposable, for obvious reasons, so, until they become more robust, I doubt they’re particularly mainstream.

If I may translate from Samsungese, what they’re likely saying is “foldable display technology is coming down in price, so soon we’ll be able to put it in phones with mid range and low end specs without appreciably increasing the price. So, coming soon, we’ll have folding displays in our A series.” One wonders about the reliability of an A series phone with folding display, though! (Not to mention that it’s a way of slapping makeup on a pig to tart up otherwise crappy phones, or that cheap folding phones will likely damage Samsung’s mystique and sense of exclusivity they’ve been pushing to sell folding displays.)
 
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tweaknmod

macrumors regular
Feb 13, 2012
225
641
Ottawa, Ontario
Personally, I don't think the tech is there - yet.

There are some really cool form factors out there, and some really interesting ideas being deveoped, but I can't see this going beyond the level of novelty until the technology behind the hardware is perfected. I think many people are bored with the same old rectangles we've been using for decades now, so these stand out when people go phone shopping.

Once they address the issues, then I do think there is real potential here to marry what we now consider smartphones and small form tablets in the one device. When that happens, I think wide-spread adoption will take off. Until then, they are interesting gadgets for tech enthusiasts ilke us, and novelty devices that catch the attention of people loking for something new.

There are two main issues, in my mind, that need to be addressed:
  • The line on the fold
  • The thickness of the overall device, when folded
Whoever manages to iron those out (pun absolutely intended) will be able to offer what consumers have started to want more and more in recent years... something truly new.
 

cliveren13

macrumors member
Oct 12, 2009
81
46
I have one and i love it will upgrade to the Fold 4 already reserved to get my 200 dollars in credit we always say until apple does it isn't that like a scavenger you sit back and wait i switch between my iPhone 13 pro max and my Fold 3 i love them both because i love technology and both companies are pushing it forward.
 

Grey Area

macrumors 6502
Jan 14, 2008
382
899
No thanks, until we have transparent aluminum I don't think the screens will ever hold up to daily phone abuse. Furthermore I haven't seen a case for them yet. (yes I know they did it, just go with the joke).
Aluminium has very poor metal fatigue behaviour and would be terrible at bending. Transparent titanium alloys, or even transparent steel, would be far superior.
 

Nugat Trailers

macrumors member
Dec 23, 2021
65
89
In fairness to Samsung, I'd believe that the total amount of foldable smartphones shipped is about 10 million in 2021.

...But wasn't there 1.35 billion smartphones shipped in 2021, aka 1,350 million?
 

Kissmo1980

macrumors regular
Feb 16, 2021
204
481
until Samsung doesn’t claim foldable TVs and foldable refrigerators are mainstream, I hold back 😜
 

PsykX

macrumors 68000
Sep 16, 2006
1,849
1,997
Foldable phones will only go mainstream when Apple finally makes one and legitimatises the form factor.
Apple does have a huge influence because they're rarely dipping their feet first, and they get right what others do wrong.

But I have a bad feeling about foldable phones. I'm not even interested in Apple releasing one.
They would have to convince me that I have an iPhone and also an iPad in my pocket, but the form factor scares me. And the fact that it would cannibalize their sales probably scares them too.
 

Ludatyk

macrumors 601
May 27, 2012
4,047
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Texas
Personally, I don't think the tech is there - yet.
The tech is there… the problem is affordability.

There are two main issues, in my mind, that need to be addressed:
  • The line on the fold
  • The thickness of the overall device, when folded
Well, right now… there is already phone makers that have addressed the line on their foldable device. However, Samsung hasn’t decided to mimic their approach.

And thickness will always be a problem… you are in essence putting two slabs of phones together. Making it thinner would most likely be a hit to the battery life.
 
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rebelrogue42

macrumors member
Aug 18, 2020
40
54
I got one last year when they were first released. I only stayed with it for 3 or 4 months before I moved back to an iPhone. I would purposely leave the Flip unfolded on my desk during the day because the screen sounded like it might start peeling off the phone or break at some point when I opened it, even that early on. I do miss the always on outer display for notifications though.
 
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