Adding to previous speculation and rumours, analyst predicts Apple will release a foldable iPad tablet next year
An analyst has weighed in on Apple’s crowded tablet lineup, and has predicted the arrival of a new form factor iPad.
On Monday the noted Apple analyst Ming-Chi Kuo at TF International Securities wrote that he thinks Apple will launch a foldable iPad with a carbon fibre kickstand in 2024.
This matches a prediction from analyst group CCS Insight last October, after it predicted Apple would buck the trend of foldable smartphones, but instead launch an iPad with a folding screen also in 2024.
This week Ming-Chi Kuo wrote he is taking a cautious approach to iPad shipments for 2023, predicting a year-on-year decline of 10-15 percent.
“Nevertheless, I’m positive about the foldable iPad in 2024 and expect this new model will boost shipments and improve the product mix,” he wrote.
My latest survey indicates that the foldable iPad will feature a carbon fiber kickstand. Carbon fiber material will make the kickstand lighter and more durable.
— 郭明錤 (Ming-Chi Kuo) (@mingchikuo) January 30, 2023
Ming-Chi Kuo also predicted that Apple will slow the pace of iPad releases for the rest of 2023, with an eye toward releasing the foldable iPad by 2024.
“I’m positive about the foldable iPad in 2024 and expect this new model will boost shipments and improve the product mix,” Kuo wrote on Twitter.
Kuo also said he expects the foldable iPad to feature a carbon fibre kickstand sourced from Chinese manufacturer Anjie Technology.
Kuo is a respected Apple analyst and has predicted multiple details on the iPhone SE 3, the 2021 MacBook Pro, and numerous iPad releases that have been substantiated at launch.
Most recently, Kuo predicted a delayed launch for Apple’s anticipated mixed reality headset.
In 2021, Kuo had predicted the release of a foldable iPhone in 2024, the same year he now predicts a foldable iPad to launch instead.
If Apple does deliver a foldable iPad in 2024, it will be a marked departure from rivals who have already released folding smartphones, such as the Samsung Galaxy Fold, Huawei’s Mate X, Xiaomi’s Mix Mix Fold, and Motorola’s foldable Razr handset.
“Right now it doesn’t make sense for Apple to make a foldable iPhone,” Ben Wood, chief of research at CCS Insight, told CNBC in an interview in 2022. “We think they will shun that trend and probably dip a toe in the water with a foldable iPad.”
“A folding iPhone will be super high risk for Apple,” explained Wood. “Firstly, it would have to be incredibly expensive in order to not cannibalise the existing iPhones.”
Wood also said that if Apple had any technical issues with the foldable phone, then it would be a “feeding frenzy” with critics attacking Apple for the problems.
Still, Apple has “no option but to react because the trend toward foldables is gathering momentum,” Wood was quoted by CNBC as saying, hence the company will begin with an iPad.
Wood said it would give Apple a chance to learn how to implement and scale foldable screen technology as well as “breathe new life” into the iPad range.
There has been previous speculation about Apple’s intentions with foldable products.
Back in February 2020 for example, Apple was granted a patent for a foldable device with a unique hinge mechanism, that triggered speculation the iPad maker was developing a folding iPhone handset.
That patent revealed it used a hinge that rather a folding screen per say. Indeed, Apple’s hinge mechanism would ensure adequate separation between the first and second portions of the display.
Essentially, when the device is unfolded (as per the patent), movable flaps would extend to cover the gap, and then retract when the device is folded back up.