New report suggests foldable iPhone will launch in 2024 at the earliest, if at all

New report suggests foldable iPhone will launch in 2024 at the earliest, if at all
Apple is still undecided on the launch of a foldable iPhone, suggests a new report from South Korean publication TheElec.

A couple of reports have indicated that the company will release its first foldable device in 2023. For that, Apple should ideally have a product plan ready by the second half of 2021. This is usually reflected in movement in the supply chain.

The Cupertino giant usually starts co-development with its partners at least two to three years before a product launch. It also designates vendors for materials and components once a design is locked in.

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There are currently no indications that Apple is readying its supply chain for a 2023 launch, per the Korean outlet.

According to a recent report, Apple is working with LG on a foldable panel and an earlier leak had alleged that the company has ordered samples from Samsung. These two South Korean companies already supply OLED panels for the iPhone 12 series.

They would need to start making the necessary investments in early 2022 if Apple intends to launch the device in 2023. 

Apple is believed to have started early development work on a foldable iPhone but the company is currently only focused on the display. Bloomberg suggests that an actual device is either years away or may never see the light of day.

Apple will consider profitability before launching a foldable iPhone

The Elec also claims that Samsung was able to sell only 2.5 million units of foldable smartphones in 2020, missing its target of shipping 4.5 million to 5 million units. Apple is likely closely monitoring the South Korean giant's performance to gauge the market response. 

Apple is currently transitioning from LCD panels to OLED units and this could affect its margins. By the second half of 2022, it's forecasted to have more OLED iPhones than LCD iPhones in its portfolio. The report says that Apple requires time to evaluate its position before launching a foldable iPhone.

According to a person familiar with the matter, Apple also has mini-projects related to foldable displays but they add that the company is currently not too keen on launching a bendable device. 

For now, a 2023 launch timeframe doesn't seem likely, and if the company starts setting up a supply chain towards the end of this year, we will see a foldable iPhone in 2024 at the earliest.

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