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Any iPad is foldable if you try hard enough but Apple guru says a hinged one is coming
Cupertino commentators split over foldable fondleslab predictions
When Apple soothsayer Ming-Chi Kuo tweets, the tech world pays attention. This time he's predicting a folding iPad to hit the market next year, which means some accompanying bad news for those hoping to get a new Apple tablet in 2023.
In a series of tweets yesterday, Kuo said his forecast of a folding iPad in 2024 comes with a cautious stance on iPad releases in 2023, which he said will have a year-over-year decline of 10 to 15 percent this year.
"There may be no new iPad releases in the next 9-12 months as the iPad mini refresh is more likely to begin mass production in 1Q24," Kuo said, adding: "Nevertheless, I'm positive about the foldable iPad in 2024 and expect this new model will boost shipments and improve the product mix."
Kuo, an analyst at TF International Securities, gets much of the data for his largely accurate Apple predictions from the company's supply chain partners in Asia. This prediction is no different, with Kuo citing Chinese firm Suzhou Anjie Technology as "the new beneficiary of the all-new design foldable iPad."
Anjie deals in a number of electronics technologies, including touch panels and displays, but for the folding iPad, Kuo said it's going to be supplying the built-in carbon fiber kickstand the device will be sold with.
Kuo predicts more folding devices will ship with kickstands in the future, and he predicts Anjie will benefit from that trend "as a polishing and bonding supplier" of kickstands.
Kuo isn't the first to predict such a device coming out of Cupertino R&D labs – CCS Insight made a similar prediction in October last year when it said Apple would pass on a folding phone in favor of a folding tablet thanks to market saturation from Samsung's Galaxy Z line.
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"A folding iPhone will be super high risk for Apple. Firstly, it would have to be incredibly expensive in order to not cannibalize the existing iPhones," CCS Insight's Chief of Research, Ben Wood, told CNBC in October.
"Right now it doesn't make sense for Apple to make a foldable iPhone. We think they will shun that trend and probably dip a toe in the water with a foldable iPad."
Not everyone agrees, however. Ross Young, CEO and cofounder of Display Supply Chain Consultants, responded to Kuo's Twitter thread to say he'd heard rumors of "multiple OLED iPads" coming in 2024, but nothing about a possible folding Apple tablet next year. Bloomberg Apple watcher Mark Gurman disputed the news as well.
Kuo has previously predicted a number of Apple device features that turned out to be real, like the iPhone getting satellite connectivity (though he was a model year off), as well as foreseeing Apple's supply chain issues, like its low Q4 shipment numbers, which he believed would be similarly short.
We'll have to wait a while to see if this one comes true, but Apple won't be any help. They didn't respond to questions about the rumored folding device. ®