Apple has no short-term iPhone Fold launch plans, iPad Fold instead likely coming in 2024

Apple has no short-term iPhone Fold launch plans, iPad Fold instead likely coming in 2024
Traditional smartphones are dead, long live foldables, rollables, and bendables. While the global mobile industry is... not quite there yet, it might soon be if Samsung continues to prioritize the production, distribution, and especially the marketing of its Galaxy Z Fold and Z Flip lineups over the "conventional" Galaxy S series and nearly all other major handset vendors keep following the world champion's example.

We're talking everyone from Motorola to Huawei, Oppo, Vivo, Xiaomi, and before long, Google and Apple as well, at least according to increasingly persistent and reliable rumors from all directions, leakers, and analysts.

As badly as skipper Tim Cook may want to resist joining the latest mobile hardware fad, foldable devices are clearly here to stay and only destined for more growth in the next few years, thus leaving Apple "no option but to react"... in a somewhat surprising way as early as 2024.

Stuck between a rock and a hard place

While no one can really know for sure exactly what new products the Cupertino-based tech giant is planning to release two whole years ahead of time, CCS Insight chief of research Ben Wood (via CNBC) has a pretty logical reason not to expect a foldable iPhone to see daylight in the very near future.

If the non-foldable iPhone 14 Pro Max currently costs as much as $1,599 in its top-of-the-line configuration, a foldable Apple handset with similarly advanced specifications and a significantly more expensive production process would probably need to start at around $2,500 to make sense from a profitability standpoint.

That sounds incredibly hard to swallow even for the most passionate "iFans" out there, and if Samsung's Galaxy Fold family has taught us anything, it's also going to be extremely difficult for Apple to get the "iPhone Fold" design and durability right on the first try.

As such, Wood expects to see a foldable iPad set the stage for a foldable iPhone at some point in 2024, which of course doesn't solve the pricing issue. After all, the most expensive iPad Pro variant is regularly priced at no less than $2,400, and following the above logic, a first-of-its-kind iPad Fold could set you back north of $3,000 or even $4,000.

Naturally, there are fairly easy ways to bring costs down (at least to $2,500 or so), like equipping this rumored foldable iPad with no more than, say, 256 gigs of internal storage space. But Apple still risks generating a "feeding frenzy" from critics and haters if the already belated device ends up being anything less than perfect, which is a risk the company will eventually have to take. Unless, of course, foldables collapse in popularity between now and 2024, which feels even less likely than seeing an iPhone Fold unveiled alongside the iPad Pro (2022) generation this week.

Other plans are clearer and bolder

While it's pretty obvious that Apple currently doesn't know what to do with the fast-growing foldable category, oscillating between equally risky and undesirable scenarios, the company's ambitions in other fields are reportedly a lot firmer.

For instance, the first iPhone (most likely without a foldable design) powered by an A-series chip featuring an integrated Apple-made 5G modem might be... "only" three years or so away.

That sounds distant (and is in fact distant), but we're talking about a very complicated and potentially immensely profitable endeavor kicked off with a costly business acquisition back in 2019

Today's iPhones, mind you, use 5G modems manufactured by Qualcomm, but if Apple's bold plan materializes, its reliance on the semiconductor giant will be drastically diminished or completely eliminated in just a few short years, possibly saving billions and billion of dollars in production costs by moving a crucial component in-house. Let's just hope the move will also prove beneficial for end users, which is of course impossible to predict right now.

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