Apple has been a brand that has been conspicuous by its absence in the foldable segment of the smartphone industry. Analyst forecasts have been all over the map and usually trusted TF International analyst Ming-Chi Kuo is on record stating that a foldable iPhone or iPad could appear sometime next year
. Kuo then changed his prediction by saying that Apple
is testing a 9-inch foldable for release no earlier than 2025.
Samsung might have better sources inside Apple than Kuo
Samsung might have more internal connections to Apple than Kuo, considering that it supplies Apple with 82% of the AMOLED screens used in the iPhone 14 series and 100% of the panels used in the iPhone 14 Pro Max. When it comes to the iPhone 14 lineup, LG Display is responsible for 12% of the screens, while 6% of the panels come from the China BOE. So when Samsung’s Mobile Experience business unit says it expects Apple to produce a foldable tablet or laptop for launch in 2024, we should give the comment some weight.
Foldable iPad concept published by Lets Go Digital a few years ago
Note that Samsung says it expects Apple to produce a foldable tablet by 2024, not a foldable iPhone. This would seem to match Kuo’s comment that Apple is testing a foldable 9-inch device. And with Samsung calling for a 2024 release and Kuo mentioning 2025, the product could be ready for the public in two to three years.
It was all part of a meeting last month between Sammy and his suppliers that took place during the third week of October. According to the elect
In collusion, Samsung said that the foldable market is so strong that the compound annual growth rate (CAGR) for these devices will be 80% through 2025. That’s very strong growth! The company also noted that in South Korea (where Samsung is based), iPhone users in their 20s and 30s are switching to one of Samsung’s foldable phones at a rate three to four times faster than before.
It’s also encouraging for Samsung that as many as 90% of foldable smartphone owners say they plan to stick with a foldable for their next smartphone purchase. And with foldables making up just 1% of the current smartphone market, the potential for this market segment is huge. Samsung currently produces the Galaxy Z Fold 4 and the Galaxy Z Flip 4; the former opens like a book and allows users to switch from a 6.2-inch screen to a 7.6-inch screen the size of a tablet.
Samsung would like to see these improvements from its suppliers
The Galaxy Z Flip 4 is a flip cover that slips quietly into your pocket until you need a smartphone. The user opens the device to reveal a 6.7-inch screen. and last summer there was talk of Samsung creating a folding tablet
. Unlike the two current devices that start small and open up to reveal a bigger screen, a foldable Galaxy Tab would start out big and open up to get even bigger.
Samsung has made a list of improvements it would like to see from its suppliers. Perhaps Samsung’s number one request is that its vendors find a way to eliminate the crease that still appears where foldable screens fold. Samsung
it also wants to make these phones with new materials that would allow them to be thinner and lighter, add improvements to cameras, add stronger haptics, and more.
The Galaxy Z Fold 4 weighs 263 grams, making it heavier than the iPhone 14 Pro (206 grams) and iPhone 14 Pro Max (240 grams). There’s a fine line between making a phone heavy enough to feel durable and making it too heavy to feel like a brick. That’s why Samsung would like its suppliers to come up with new materials that are both durable and lighter.
Samsung would like to create a silo to house the S Pen in the Galaxy Z Fold 5
It also wants to provide a silo for the S Pen similar to what was available on the Galaxy S22 Ultra. The original game plan called for the Galaxy Z Fold 4 to offer an integrated home for the S Pen, but Samsung nixed this idea. Also scrapped due to weight and thickness limitations was the plan to use higher-end camera modules in the latest Fold model. The company’s goal is to make its foldable phones as durable as its flagship phones.
Also discussed during the meeting was the need for developers to create more software for the Galaxy Z Fold 4 that fits the 21.6:18 aspect ratio of the larger internal display. Any improvements will have to wait until the second half of next year, when the next-gen Galaxy Z Fold 5 and Galaxy Z Flip 5 are expected to launch.