Apple works really hard at creating beautiful technology that just works. They happen to be really good at it. They are notorious about the smallest details that make a huge difference in the customer experience. Which is why a foldable iPhone is never going to be a thing.
It's a novel idea: create a device that spans the gap between your smartphone and your tablet. I kind of get the appeal, though to be honest, the number of times I've wished I could fold my iPad and put it in my pocket is the same as the number of times I wished my french press coffee pot could make me Diet Coke. Never.
Actually, now that I think about it, the Diet Coke thing would be cool.
But the fact that this isn't really something people actually want isn't the real reason Apple won't make one. After all, Apple's been known to do things that people had no idea they wanted. No one really knew what a phone would be without a keypad. Remember when everyone thought the iPhone would have a click wheel, like the iPod but with phone calls?
No, the reason they won't do it is that it simply isn't a thing that can be done well. All you have to do is look at the problems plaguing the Samsung Galaxy Fold to see that this is a real issue.
Sure, Apple could probably do it better, but that's like saying that Boeing could make a better convertible jetliner. Who cares if you can make it better when the thing you're making is a disaster to begin with?
For those of you who were looking forward to binging every episode of The Office at the beach this summer on your fold out phone/UV ray-blocker, I'm sorry to be the bearer of bad news. It's not going to happen.
As novel as it may be, there's no way to make it beautiful and make it just work. The existing models have visible creases down the middle of the display and gaps in the hinge which let in dust and debris, two things which seem to be unavoidable. Both of those would be deal-breakers for Apple's design ethos.
Foldable screen technology is a cool idea, and I'm sure there are some super useful applications for it, but that's the problem. It's a cool idea, but in real life, it will probably suck on a phone and I don't think we're going to see it on an Apple branded product any time soon. Or ever.
Apple doesn't make things that suck. Except for iTunes. But that's a cash cow, and it looks like they're finally breaking it apart to make it, well, not suck. But the iPhone is basically the biggest cash cow in the world, and Apple's not going to ruin that by making something that isn't beautiful and doesn't "just work."
Instead, I think the next iPhones we see will continue to look and act much like what we have now. Apple seems to be focusing on improving the camera system, reducing the size of the notch, and better battery performance, all of which directly lead to a better user experience. In fact, I wouldn't be surprised if, in 3 years, the iPhone we carry in our pocket looks a lot like it does now, just faster and lighter. It's beautiful, and it just works.