The question was never whether, but when and according to the noted Apple analyst Ming-Chi Kuo, the long-standing folding iPhone is now expected in 2023.
According to a note from the analyst seen by MacRumors, Kuo said he predicts that Apple’s first foldable iPhone will have an 8-inch flexible OLED display, originally from Samsung, and will go on sale sometime in 2023. Kuo also says that based on forecasts and Apple’s “requested capacity plan,” he Apple expects Apple to target sales of between 15 and 20 million units, which would be a big jump from 2.8 million foldable phones sold in the industrywidely in 2020– of which nearly 80% are from Samsung.
“Currently, the product position of folding smartphones is mainly to integrate the smartphone and tablet,” Kuo wrote. “But we believe that the foldable smartphone is just one of the applications of the foldable design. We anticipate that foldable devices will blur product segments between smartphones, tablets and laptops in the future. With its ecosystems and hardware design advantages, Apple will be the biggest winner in the new trend of folding devices. “
Kuo said he believes Apple will move to silver nanowire sensor technology – which Apple already uses on the HomePod – for use in future devices with multiple folds or removable displays, at this point silver nanowire can to be done better choice than Samsung Display’s Y-Octa folding screen technology.
Unfortunately, Kuo didn’t mention an estimated price for Apple’s upcoming foldable iPhone, although given Apple’s projected high sales target, it’s hard to imagine final retail prices anywhere near the $ 1,800 new price. Galaxy Z Fold 2 goes for today.
Another question is whether Apple’s upcoming foldable iPhone will work with a standard version of iOS, iPad OS or a hybrid of both to help Apple the foldable handset makes the most of its multifunctional design. Anyway, the main obstacle Apple will have to clean up is to find out way to protect the iPhone’s foldable screen, as today’s curved displays are still quite soft and prone to dents and creases. Apple will also need to develop a hinge mechanism that maintains its strength and rigidity without taking up too much space or allowing small particles such as dirt to enter the device.
Samsung has has already released two generations of folding phones and currently has the most experience in creating devices with flexible screens. But Apple’s attempt to use relatively new technologies and work to smooth out flaws and breakages could make it an immediate success.
And yet a lot can change between now and 2023, so we are we’ll just have to sit tight for the next few years before we get a better idea of what a foldable iPhone might actually look like.