Samsung Dominates the Foldable Market — Has Apple Missed their Window?

Galaxy Fold 5

Samsung held their ‘Galaxy Unpacked’ event this past week in Seoul, Korea, revealing a slew of new products coming later this year; the most notable of which being the fifth generations of both the Galaxy Z Fold and Galaxy Z Flip devices. And like with any tech event, tech-tubers from across the globe released their videos covering the event, previewing the shiny new devices from the Korean tech-giant.

‘Foldables’ have been a dream of mine since the dawn of smartphones. The ability to have one device that could do it all—from phone, to tablet, to laptop, to desktop—is something I’ve eagerly waited for. And Samsung delivered. The Fold series has allowed users to have a smartphone, fold it open to use as a tablet, connect it to something like this to use as a laptop via Samsung DeX, and then use DeX while connected to an external monitor to have a proper desktop setup. The dream was realized. Unfortunately, by the time the first Fold came out in 2019, I had moved my entire setup over to the walled gardens of Apple; a trillion dollar company who refuses to make a proper foldable.

Though renowned Apple analysts like Ming-Chi Kuo have been circulating rumours since 2021 that Apple were steadily developing their own foldable device, which could release as early as 2024, they’ve since revised those claims, saying now that a release date of 2025 would be more accurate; if Apple released one at all, that is. 2025 would mean that Samsung, if their past releases are anything to go by, would be releasing their seventh generation of foldable devices. That’s seven years of perfecting a once revolutionary product, without any competition from arguably their biggest competitors.

Ming-Chi Kuo Tweet
2025 according to Ming-Chi Kuo, *sighs*

Even though popular YouTuber, MKBHD, states in his new impressions video that Samsung’s new Fold 5 has very few new features or upgrades—the most notable one being a new hinge mechanic that erases the air gap when the device is folded—Samsung are not in a place where they need to reinvent the wheel; because they already did that, five years ago. Their competitors within this niche market are Oppo and now Google, the former of which has most of its users based in China, and the latter are only one generation into the foldable market. Samsung unveiled that though foldable phones only take up around 5% of the global premium smartphone market, Samsung are the clear leaders with a 63% market share.

iPhone Fold Render
Please just make this happen, Apple. Render by AppleInsider

It begs the question, then: can Apple still make a wave in this Samsung-dominated market with a foldable device of their own? Though patents and leaks have been circulating the web for some time, there doesn’t seem to be any clear signal that Apple are indeed on the cusp of unveiling a foldable device. Especially now with Apple Vision being the ‘next big thing’ at Cupertino, I wonder if Tim Cook isn’t eyeing the invention that comes after the foldable. Though, that might not fall in line with how Apple have been operating in recent years as the company has been fashionably late to take on many features and devices; allowing their competitors to work out the kinks first.    

Maybe Apple has no intention of cannibalizing their product lines, which a foldable device would indeed do. Still, to have an iPhone Pro Max fold open to a large iPad mini, then have that be compatible with the Magic Keyboard and Apple Pencil, and have proper external monitor support would be something I’d pay too much money for—and most likely will because, well, it is Apple after all.

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