Foldable Phones: LG Hints at One, iPhone Users Say They’d Pay for One
Aside from the regular updates from Samsung on the status of its forthcoming—albeit maligned—Galaxy Fold, there really hasn’t been much noise in the foldable phones space in the months since Mobile World Congress. All of a sudden, that changed overnight with LG dropping some major hints about a new foldable phone and the release of a new survey of iPhone users on their interest in a folding iPhone.
Starting with LG, the company began sending out invites to its September 6 press conference in Berlin for IFA 2019 this week. The brief 19-second video that accompanied those invites rather blatantly hints at what LG plans to show off at the annual European consumer tech and home appliance trade show.
What’s interesting to note about the device is the rather tiny screen on the outer casing as depicted in the clip. Personally, I wasn’t a huge fan of the smaller outer screen on the Samsung Galaxy Fold, which looked more like a mid-2000s phone screen with its massive bezels on the top and bottom. And with this LG video, that outer screen problem only gets worse. Rather than giving consumers any sort of “normal sized” screen option, this video suggests that users will have no choice but to use the folded-out device, while the outer display will essentially serve as a glorified notification center.
That said, this is just a cartoon version of whatever LG plans to show off in Berlin. So, we’ll reserve our total judgment for when we get up close and potentially hands on with the product next month.
Moving over to Apple, while the company hasn’t publicly confirmed any plans to manufacture foldable iPhones, a new survey of iPhone users by UBS suggests that Apple’s customer base would be willing to buy into the foldable concept. Roughly 35 percent of consumers surveyed by UBS that already have an iPhone said they would be interested in purchasing a foldable model. Price would remain a key factor, though, with users suggesting they’d be willing to pay a premium of only about $600 for the folding functionality.
“Price remains the key hurdle in most consumers' minds, while the adequate average premium vs. regular smartphones surveyed to be [about] US$400-500,” UBS wrote in a note to investors. “The survey indicates greater willingness to pay a premium (c. $600) and generally higher interest among Apple buyers for foldable products.”
The closest thing we have indicating that Apple could be working on a folding iPhone is a rumor reported earlier this year that Samsung delivered sample foldable displays to Apple. Some analysts believe that points to a potential 2020 release of a folding iPhone.