We’re already on the Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 4, but the first foldable iPhone could still be years away, with a new report suggesting it won’t arrive until 2025, with a foldable iPad arriving first, in 2024.
That’s according to analytics firm CCS Insight (via CNBC (opens in new tab)), who argues that, at this point, a foldable tablet makes more sense for Apple than a foldable phone.
Ben Wood, head of research at CCS Insight, told CNBC there are two reasons for this. Firstly, a foldable iPhone “would have to be incredibly expensive not to cannibalize existing iPhones”, with the company predicting a price tag of at least $2,500 (about £2,220 / AU$3,970).
Second, there’s a chance that Apple’s first foldable device will have technical issues, and Apple wouldn’t want to risk that with a device as important as an iPhone, as it could lead to a “feeding frenzy” from critics.
However, Wood believes some sort of collapsible device is coming, “because the trend for collapsibles is gaining traction.” And not only would a foldable iPad be a lower risk proposition than a foldable iPhone, it would also help “breathe new life” into the iPad lineup.
These are largely convincing arguments, but it seems like they’re more guesswork than inside information, so we’d certainly take all of this with a pinch of salt.
Still, many sources and even patents suggest that Apple is exploring foldable devices, so it’s likely only a matter of time before one comes out, whether it’s a phone or a tablet, and it’s also obvious that any foldables that Apple launch will be extremely expensive.
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While not mentioned here, a foldable tablet can also be a very attractive option for buyers as it is something other companies are not yet offering.
If Apple launches a foldable iPad in 2024, it will likely be among the first companies to offer a folding slate, so it probably won’t have much competition.
The iPad line also needs more new ideas than the iPhone. This year Apple offered a new design for the iPhone 14 Pro and iPhone 14 Pro Max, along with new ways of interacting powered by Dynamic Island, but for the just-announced iPad Pro 2022, the most significant change was simply a new chipset, making this a pretty boring upgrade.
For now, the best iPads are among the best tablets, but Apple will need to shake things up sooner or later if it wants to maintain its position as a top tablet.