No, iPhone 13 isn't going to be a folding phone. We know they’re thinking about it, but I'm pretty certain they aren’t doing it just yet. The reason being that Apple historically has been happy to let other brands try new ideas and make all the mistakes, before swooping in with a similar but better product and saying, 'Look: that's how you do it.'
Sure, Apple has been experimenting with folding iPhones, but the iPhone 13 won't be where the rest of get to see it. I'm a fan of both phones that fold – I was rocking a Razr when the iPhone wasn’t even a glint in Steve Jobs’ eye. I'm a fan of iPhones – I’ve owned every version since the very first one. So I’m happy and yet not happy, because I really want a folding iPhone, but I don’t want Apple to rush into making one.
I’ve been looking through Apple’s back pages lately because the iPod will soon celebrate its 20th birthday. And it’s absolutely fascinating to look at the history of the iPod, the iPhone and the iPad, because with each of those things – the digital music player, the smartphone, the tablet – Apple wasn’t the first.
There were music players before iPod, smartphones before iPhone, tablets before iPad. And now there are folding phones before any folding iPhone. I think Apple history may be about to repeat.
Why I want a folding iPhone (but not quite yet)
My daily driver is an iPhone 12 Pro, and I love it. But I don’t love it all the time because it’s far too big for the ridiculously small pockets some genius decided women should endure.
A folding iPhone could be bigger than that while also being smaller, and the protection a folding case delivers would mean considerably less time spent staring at cracked glass screen protectors.
And while the first folding phones were more showcases than actual products I’d want or could afford to buy, the likes of the Galaxy Z Fold 3 and the Galaxy Z Flip 3 show how fast the tech has matured. Prices are headed downwards, and both of those products have really turned a corner for their respective designs: the Fold 3 is sturdy and practical enough to be your main work phone; the Flip 3 has reached the level of cool that is, really, the whole point of a design like that.
So I absolutely think that this is an area Apple should be in. But I’ve also seen what happens when Apple rushes things, and it isn’t pretty. Do you remember the iTunes phone? Many Apple fans have used brain bleach to scrub it from their memories, but it definitely existed: Apple helped Motorola make the ROKR E1, the first ever iTunes phone, back in 2005, and the only way it could have been more of a lemon is if it had been round and yellow. Since then Apple has preferred to let its rivals make the mistakes.
And then when it swoops in? With the iPhone? With the iPod? With the iPad? The results tend to be a bit good.
I want Apple to make a folding phone worth waiting for. All too often, being first can mean being worst.