Foldable smartphone shipments predicted to skyrocket (but don’t expect an ‘iPhone Fold’)

Well, this isn’t exactly a firm prediction: according to Alpha Biz (via DigiTimes), Apple might release a foldable iPhone in 2027 — or cancel the project entirely.

I still don’t think that Apple will release a foldable iPhone, but a new report from the TrendForce research group says that shipments of foldable smartphones could skyrocket to 18.3 million units this year, marking a 43% year-over-year surge. 

Fast forward to 2024, and we’re looking at another leap—a 38% growth, translating to a hefty 25.2 million units and nudging the market share up to 2.2%, according to the report. Looking at the medium to long term, TrendForce believes the expansion of the foldable smartphone market is inevitable. By 2027, shipments could soar to a whopping 70 million units, seizing around 5% of the global smartphone market, notes the research group.

However, the Sellers Research Group (that’s me) thinks we’ll see a curved iPhone before a foldable one. Why?

As noted by the Make Use Of website, since the screen on a foldable phone folds and unfolds several times a day, it wrinkles down the middle and leaves a noticeable crease. This can prove to be interrupting in daily use as you slide your finger across the screen.

Also, as the article notes, dust is a big problem for foldable phones because they have a lot of moving parts. If any small dust particle enters the phone body via any one of its openings, it can cause problems and potentially kill the device. 

Finally, Make Use Of notes that making a foldable phone means sacrificing a lot of internal real estate to house all the moving parts. The hinge itself takes up a lot of space. 

“Due to this, foldable phones often have mediocre battery life—at least not as good as what they could have if the moving parts didn’t take up so much space,” notes Make Use Of.

As for an “iPhone Curve,” Apple has filed for various patents that hint at a curved iPhone with a wraparound display. For example, patent filing 202200111822 is for an “electronic device with wrap around display.” It’s designed to expand “the functionality of portable electronics devices by providing a more efficient mechanism for presenting visual content is disclosed. 

Dennis Sellers
the authorDennis Sellers
Dennis Sellers is the editor/publisher of Apple World Today. He’s been an “Apple journalist” since 1995 (starting with the first big Apple news site, MacCentral). He loves to read, run, play sports, and watch movies.