Top analyst says foldable iPhone coming in 2023; up to 20 million units will ship
Back in March, TF International analyst Ming-Chi Kuo said that an 8-inch foldable iPhone could launch in 2023. Kuo sent out a note to investors on Monday and it was obtained by 9to5Mac. In the note Kuo said, citing sources, that Apple will ship 15 million to 20 million foldable iPhone units in 2023.
While the specs and design of the foldable iPhone are unknown, Kuo does say that Samsung will be the exclusive supplier of the foldable OLED panels that Apple will use. The prescient analyst, who originally said that the foldable iPhone would feature a 7.5-inch to 8-inch screen, has narrowed that down to an 8-inch screen.
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Kuo had an interesting passage in his note. While Samsung is the global leader in foldable handsets, the analyst said that thanks to Apple's cross-product eco-system, the biggest winner in the foldable market will be Apple. At the end of last year, there was speculation that Apple had Foxconn build two different foldable prototypes.
One foldable was designed like the Samsung Galaxy Z Fold while the other model was similar to the Galaxy Z Flip. The former opens from a 6.2-inch screen to a 7.6-inch tablet and the latter opens from a pocketable size to become a 6.7-inch handset with a tall and thin display. Supposedly, Apple is leaning toward the clamshell design of the Galazy Z Flip.
Apple reportedly favors using a clamshell design like the one used on the Galaxy Z Flip for a foldable iPhone
In the note, the analyst stated, "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."
If Kuo is correct, the foldable iPhone will have a display that is slightly larger than the 7.9-inch iPad mini. One thing to consider, if Apple does go with an 8-inch display for a foldable iPhone, it would suggest that its design would be similar to the Galaxy Z Fold since an 8-inch screen might be too large for a clamshell design.