On Monday, Kuo sent a message to investors. According to Kuo’s note, Apple will ship 15 million to 20 million foldable iPhone units in 2023, citing sources.
Based on our latest industry survey, we forecast that Apple will likely launch a foldable iPhone with an 8-inch QHD+ flexible OLED display in 2023, with SDC as the exclusive display supplier and Samsung Foundry as the exclusive DDI foundry provider. Based on Apple’s requested capacity plan, we predict that the foldable iPhone shipments will reach 15-20 million units in 2023. We expect that the foldable iPhone will adopt TPK’s silver nanowire touch solution because of its several advantages over SDC’s Y-Octa technology.Ming-Chi Kuo
Foldable devices, according to Kuo, will become a “must-have” for all major smartphone brands, boosting the next “mega replacement period” for high-end models, and Apple will be the “biggest winner” in the foldable mobile trend.
The company is expected to collaborate with Samsung as the exclusive supplier of foldable OLED displays for the latest iPhone series, the design and specifications of which are still undisclosed.
Previous rumors suggested a collaboration with LG Display, with news as recent as February suggesting that Apple had enlisted the company’s help in developing foldable screen technology. It was uncertain at the time if LG would have hardware for a production version of the foldable.
According to Kuo, while Samsung is expected to supply panels and driving circuitry for the future iPhone, it will not be in charge of the handset’s touch solution. Apple is expected to use TPK’s silver nanowire contact solution instead of Samsung’s Y-Octa technology. TPK technology is tough and can withstand several folds, as well as rollable displays and medium to large screen sizes, Kuo added.
The analyst previously estimated that the first foldable iPhone will have a screen between 7.5 and 8 inches, and now he has confirmed that Apple would use an 8-inch foldable display.
Despite the fact that Samsung currently leads the foldable market, Ming-Chi Kuo claims Apple would have an advantage with the first foldable iPhone because of its deep “cross-product ecosystem.”
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.Ming-Chi Kuo
There was speculation at the end of last year that Apple had Foxconn build two different foldable prototypes.. One foldable resembled the Samsung Galaxy Z Fold, while the other resembled the Samsung Galaxy Z Flip. The former transforms from a 6.2-inch monitor to a 7.6-inch tablet, while the latter transforms from a pocketable size to a 6.7-inch smartphone with a tall and small display. Apple is rumored to be considering the Galaxy Z Flip’s clamshell style.
If Kuo is right, the foldable iPhone’s display will be slightly larger than the iPad mini’s 7.9-inch display. One thing to remember is that if Apple chooses an 8-inch display for a foldable iPhone, the design would likely be close to the Galaxy Z Fold, as an 8-inch screen might be too wide for a clamshell design.
Of course, these plans could change by 2023, but it seems likely that Apple is at least considering releasing a foldable iPhone, given that other phone manufacturers have already released their own solutions.