In a note to clients — as noted by MacRumors — analyst Ming-Chi Kuo says Apple will launch an eight-inch foldable iPhone in 2023. The Sellers Research Group (that’s me) has been dubious that the tech giant would ever launch such a product, but Kuo’s predictions are usually on target.
Plus, Apple has been granted numerous patents for foldable iPhones (and even foldable iPads). For example, patent filing number 20200313111 for “electronic devices with flexible display cover layers” that hints at foldable iPhones with “self-healing’ displays.
Here’s what Kuo has to say on the matter:
Based on our latest industry survey, we forecast that 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 Foundry as the exclusive DDI foundry provider. Based on Apple’s requested capacity plan, we predict that the foldable iPhone shipments will reach 15-20 million units in 2023. We expect that the foldable iPhone will adopt TPK’s silver nanowire touch solution because of its several advantages over SDC’s Y-Octa technology.
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. With its cross-product ecosystems and hardware design advantages, Apple will be the biggest winner in the new foldable device trend.
He thinks that foldable smartphones will become a “must-have” for all major smartphone brands. Kuo forecasts that Apple will ship 15 to 20 million foldable iPhones in 2023.