Apple Eyes 2023 Launch For 8-inch Folding iPhone According To Reliable Leaker
Once again, word from the rumor mill is that Apple is working on a foldable version of its popular iPhone, though it will not be ready for release this year or even next year. Instead, it bound for a launch sometime in 2023, according to notorious Apple analyst Ming-Chi Kuo. No announcement has been made, but Kuo has been somewhat reliable in the past.
Folding smartphones are a new concept, though the segment is in its relative infancy. They can also be tricky to build, as Samsung discovered with its first attempt at making one—issues plagued the original Galaxy Fold, prompting Samsung CEO DJ Koh to admit
, "I pushed it through before it was ready."
The Galaxy Z Fold 2
was a better attempt. Likewise, Microsoft's Surface Duo
garnered a lot of attention due to its dual folding screens, and it is rumored a Surface Duo 2 will be out
within the next few months. That means Apple will have some catching up to do, but historically, Apple has not necessarily focused on being the first with a new idea or technology.
In a note to investors, Kuo says "Apple will likely launch a foldable iPhone with an 8-inch QHD+ flexible OLED display in 2023, with SDC as the exclusive display supplier and Samsung Founder as the exclusive DDI foundry provider."
While perhaps viewed as a somewhat risky endeavor—folding smartphones are still the exception to the rule—Kuo estimates strong sales
, with shipments forecast to reach 15-20 million units by the end of 2023. Kuo also thinks Apple will be the "biggest winner" in the foldable device market, even though it will be arriving fashionably late to the party.
"At present, the product position of foldable smartphones is mainly to integrate the smartphone and tablet. But we believe that the foldable smartphone is only one of the applications of the foldable design. We predict that foldable devices will blur the product segmentations between smartphones, tablets, and laptops in the future," Kuo wrote.
Apple entering the fray would certainly be interesting, and could help popularize the concept of a folding smartphone. It will depend on Apple's execution, though, and if it can avoid any major design hiccups. It also remains to be seen what kind of overall market there is a folding smartphone.