Why Apple Will Be Late to Foldable Phones (and Still Win)

It looks like the display industry’s equivalent of the personal jetpack or flying car may actually be traveling from the future into the present. The flexible OLED display, long demoed but never sold, is coming to TVs (from LG) and smartphones (from Samsung, among others). In a smartphone market that has consistently gone ape for larger and larger displays, phones that double in size once they’ve left your pocket could be game changers.

Or not. Until these devices exist, we won’t know if consumers are clamoring for phones that can expand to become miniature tablets. But it’s not a bad bet.

Samsung has been the center of attention in the foldable smartphone discussion, with its rumored Galaxy F, but there could be another major player, one rarely discussed in this arena: Apple. Would Apple consider releasing an iPhone with a foldable display? And if so, under what conditions?

Not afraid to be late
One thing worth knowing about Apple: It’s not afraid to be late to a new technology. One of the hallmarks of the company after Steve Jobs returned in 1997 has been a conservative approach to many new technologies. This is largely because the company’s decision-making process for integrating new tech into its products differs from that of many of its competitors. Apple has always been less concerned with fighting a spec-sheet battle, because its software helps differentiate its products.

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