A foldable iPad with a carbon fiber kickstand is reportedly in the works and may launch early 2024.
This information comes from notable Apple tipster Ming-Chi Kuo via a Twitter thread (opens in new tab). While there isn’t much to be gleaned from the short thread, what he reveals paints a rather interesting picture for the tech giant in 2023. According to Kuo, Chinese manufacturer Anjie Technology will be supplying the carbon fiber kickstand for the new device and is expected to benefit greatly from this “growing trend of foldable devices equipped with kickstands.” He goes on to say the upcoming iPad will launch alongside a revamped iPad Mini which is “likely to begin mass production” during the same time period. As for the near future, things are going to be a little unfriendly towards consumers. Kuo says it’s possible “there may be no new iPad releases in the next [nine to 12] months” as Apple works on its upcoming devices. He also predicts iPad shipments will dip 10 to 15 percent year-over-year in 2023.
The NPD Group, a market research company, reports tech sales in the US (opens in new tab) is “expected to end 2022 down eight percent year-over-year.” That number is slated to go down an extra five percent this year. With consumer spending set to go down, it appears Apple is battening down the hatches for a rocky 2023. Despite the near future looking a little dour, Kuo states he’s positive both the foldable iPad and new iPad Mini model “will boost shipments [plus] improve the product mix.”
News of foldable Apple devices have been circulating around the internet for the past couple years or so. Back in 2021 (opens in new tab), Kuo stated a foldable iPhone with an eight inch screen is supposed to release this year. However, considering the “key technology and mass production issues” affecting the device, it probably won’t happen just yet. At the earliest, this “iPhone Flip,” as it’s sometimes referred to, is expected to launch sometime in 2025 and will be very expensive. One leak suggests the price tag is hovering around an eye-watering $2,500.
Between a foldable iPad and iPhone, analyst firm CCS Insights argues the former is more likely to happen first due to how expensive a foldable smartphone will be plus the inevitable technical issues said device will have to face. Something has to metaphorically get bloody first. It might as well be the iPad and nothing as “high profile as an iPhone.” Samsung lends credence to this theory as it predicts Apple is set to launch its first foldable next year too. Just like CCS Insights, the Android giant also thinks it’s going to be some kind of tablet.
So it looks like a foldable Apple device is nothing short of an inevitability at this point. Just don’t expect either iPad model or an iPhone Flip to make an appearance at this year’s WWDC23 event. The company is playing its cards close to its chest right now.
If you’re interested in getting a foldable phone, you’ll have to buy an Android for that. Be sure to TechRadar’s recently updated best foldable phones list for 2023 featuring the likes of the Huawei Mate XS and the Galaxy Fold 4.