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Foldable iPhone: The Most Different Device You’ve Seen

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A foldable phone already on the market. Credit: Kengurukroshka /Wikimedia Commons/CC BY-SA 4.0

Apple is working to create a foldable iPhone by 2023 as an answer to its largest competitor Samsung, which released its first foldable smartphone in 2019.

According to a note written to investors on Sunday by leading Apple analyst Ming-Chi Kuo, consumers can expect a foldable iPhone by 2023.

A foldable iPhone?

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According to Kuo, the 2023 iPhone could have an 8-inch QHD OLED display which would also be foldable.

“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.” said Kuo.

A foldable iPhone would likely revolutionize Apple’s product line and would bring in a huge amount of sales. Kuo forecasts that Apple will sell 15 to 20 million iPhones in 2023, and a foldable option would in all likelihood boost those sales significantly.

This type of innovation in the iPhone product line-up usually leads to a “super replacement cycle”, where many people who had been holding on to outdated models rush to replace them with the newest product.

The technology

The 2023 iPhone could have an 8-inch QHD OLED display which would also be foldable. The display would be exclusively supplied to Apple by SDC, and the DDI foundry would be provided by Samsung Foundry.

According to Kuo, Apple is also likely to use a silver nanowire technology for the display. Apple has already used this type of display on their HomePod, and this technology is particularly useful for Apple’s plans, because it can support multiple folds.

“Future foldable devices will require touch technology that supports multiple folds (vs. only a single fold in current foldable smartphones), rollable, medium to large size display, and durability. When comparing the advantages of the above specifications, the silver nanowire is similar or superior to SDC’s Y-Octa.” said Kuo in his note to investors.

Competition with Samsung

Apple is likely developing a foldable iPhone in order to capture some of Samsung’s market share. For those who currently want to own a foldable smartphone, Samsung is the only one of the two which offers a solution.

The current foldable phone model that Samsung sells, the Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 2, retails for around €2,000 ($2,000), meaning consumers can expect high prices from Apple when they release their foldable iPhone.

Other brands that have already started selling foldable smartphones include LG, Motorola, and Huawei.

It is extremely exciting that by 2023, we will be able to hold Apple’s answer to the competition, in the form of a foldable iPhone.

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