Samsung’s biggest rival in the mobile industry, Apple, will hold an iPhone launch event by the end of the year, but unless the company has a spectacular ‘one more thing‘ moment up its sleeve, it’s highly unlikely for it to reveal any fresh products aside from a new iPhone model. For reasons unknown, Apple has yet to jump on the foldable bandwagon and we can be almost certain this won’t change at the next keynote. This is both good and bad news for Samsung and fans of the brand.
Samsung has just released the sequel to the original Galaxy Fold, the Galaxy Z Fold 2, as its third-ever foldable smartphone. The mobile industry has had a working, viable foldable device for a year now, but no other OEM aside from Samsung has made a serious attempt at cracking this nut. For the most part, that’s totally understandable. Creating a foldable device implies a serious risk. The technology is young, costly, and it would be ill-advised for a small company to make a huge investment in a foldable device when there’s a high risk of no return. Apple, however, has no excuse other than its own obsession with cash flow.
Apple is often called an innovator, especially by its fans, but its lack of involvement with the emerging flexible display technology suggests otherwise. That’s not to say the company has no innovations under its belt, but Apple’s strength over the years has been its concise, clear vision and its ability to polish existing concepts and ideas to higher standards; not innovation. It has the ‘iteration’ component of ‘innovation’ expertly figured out, but it’s not willing to go all in with any innovative ideas unless they’ve been tested long enough by someone else.
Here we are, one year into the age of foldable devices and Apple has shown no involvement or intention to improve it in any way. The company sits on a pile of gold. It’s market cap of $1.3 trillion is higher than the GDP of most countries, yet Apple doesn’t seem to have the guts to compete with Samsung in the foldable segment unless its chances of success are high enough, according to its own metrics.
Apple’s lack of innovation might be hurting Samsung and its customers
At face value it’s easy to celebrate Apple’s lack of interest in foldable devices, especially if you’re a Samsung fan. It looks like Samsung is already winning the foldable device competition by a long stretch, so why would we care if Apple doesn’t want to create its own foldable device to compete with Samsung? That’s good for the Korean tech giant, right?
That may be true but Samsung not having any serious competition in the foldable segment isn’t going to do customers any favors in the long run. Samsung and Apple have been competing for a decade, but the former company wouldn’t be as successful as it is now if it wasn’t for Apple trying to one-up it every year.
Other, smaller OEMs have attempted to join the foldable segment early-on but failed. Apple seems to be the only company with the resources necessary to become a real competitor to Samsung’s foldable product portfolio, and without that competition, we’re fearing that Samsung itself will stop making its future foldable devices as good as they can be.
On one hand, we’re proud of Samsung’s courage to kickstart the foldable movement, but on the other, we’re worrying that Samsung will stop pushing the bar as high as it can because it has no real competition. And although it is unusual for Samsung fans such as ourselves to be looking with disappointment at Apple’s lack of involvement in the foldable segment, most Apple fans surely won’t demand anything more from their brand of choice… You could say we’re at a point where us Samsung fans demand more from Apple…
The good news is that Apple may have ordered foldable screen samples from Samsung, at least according to a recent rumor. This could indicate that Apple is not ignoring the foldable segment entirely and that the company might be following its usual strategy of letting rival companies do the real groundwork and then jump on the bandwagon whenever it feels safest. Unsurprisingly, Apple probably won’t leverage its own resources to truly break new ground, so it may take a few more years before it joins the foldable segment. Our only hope is that this lack of competition won’t persuade Samsung to stop pushing its own limits.