What If We Had a Folding Phone That Didn’t Fold?


What If We Had a Folding Phone That Didn’t Fold?

Because I think a folding phone is kinda dumb


“Folded iPhone” Photo by author

It seems that Samsung has pretty much solved all its folding problems, so the rumor mongers expect that Apple will soon follow.

Gawd, I hope not!

Well, I guess as a stockholder, sure, some people want folding phones and are willing to pay dearly for the privilege of finding an excuse to unfold it in front of their jealous/fawning friends, so okay: make a folding iPhone, charge a lot of money for it, and I’ll collect the (literal) dividends.

But man-o-man that whole concept makes me draw a very deep breath in preparation for saying something very offensive.

It’s not the money. It doesn’t need eff-you money now and they will get even cheaper. Not so cheap for Apple’s take because you know whatever they sell is still going to be pricey-pricey.


It’s not that I dislike large screens. If my iPhone could look like an iPad and still fit in my pocket, I’d love it. But I wouldn’t love the clunky box that would be today. I’d want something more like the picture I put at the top of this post: literally paper thin. Maybe even literally paper.

I suppose that tech will be possible someday, but probably long after I am flirting with the nurses at the home while still being certain they are poisoning my food and lying to me about that strange woman who comes to visit and claims to be my daughter.

Other ideas

So for now, I’m expecting that glasses will be the big screen I’d like to get. Glasses do have their own problems, though. I wore glasses for many decades, contacts for almost as long, but now that I have perfect vision from cataract surgery, I don’t want to wear glasses again. Glasses fog up, they interfere with eye contact, and if you fall asleep on the toilet while wearing them, you could break your nose. Ask me about that last one, I have personal experience.

There are several ways to solve the big screen problem. One is ubiquitous AirPlay — an open standard AirPlay that anyone could use and that anyone could produce. Suppose that every grocery item had an iPad sized screen that showed prices, ads, whatever, but also could be a temporary target for your phone. Put a few more of these around the store with a short period of use allowed so that you could do what you needed on a bigger display. Put larger ones in store windows, in taxis, wherever.

Something different

But maybe you need more than that? Let’s revisit the big phone screen that fits in your pocket. Maybe folding isn’t the right solution?

How about your phone stays at it is but you could optionally buy a thin auxiliary screen that could attach magnetically when in your pocket or could live in another pocket entirely. You could use it in a similar way to Apple’s Sidecar — the other display is close, but separate.

Or it could be engineered so that you can snap or slide the two pieces together to make a seamless larger screen. Maybe you could even join your phone with two of these, one on each side. Most of the time your phone would just be unattached, but when you needed that tablet-like experience, you could have it.

Sure, the engineering of that seamless joining might be tricky, but I bet it could be done. For me, that looks much more attractive than a folding phone, both emotionally and physically. My phone stays slim and light, but it can be bigger when I want, and if I never want it, I don’t have to buy the display extensions. Happy Tony!

A happy Tony is a good thing (except when falling off a toilet), but sometimes my imagination gets out of hand and I push the envelope too far. If that’s what happened here, let me know in the comments or, if you have subscribed to receive these posts by email, you can respond privately from your mailbox.

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