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The report, citing supply chain sources, discusses how Apple is working with its suppliers to complete the development of the foldable iPad, leading up to small-scale production that is scheduled for later next year.
DigiTimes says this means that if progress on Apple’s foldable devices continues it could unveil the new device as soon as late 2024 or early 2025,
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Apple has been rumored to be working on foldable devices since at least 2016, making various design changes over the years as it worked toward releasing a foldable iPad before turning its efforts to a foldable iPhone. The iPad’s lower sales than the iPhone made it an attractive candidate for dealing with potential issues that arise, as any problems with the foldable tablet would be easier to manage with less impact on the Cupertino firm’s profits.
The report says the final design of the foldable iPad has not yet been set in stone, and while Apple’s product design team had initially led the project, that role now lies with the procurement department, as they work to achieve a more cost-effective design for the device.
Apple is said to be having issues related to the device’s hinges and panel, due to concerns about the creasing of the display. The company is reportedly still working with Samsung and LG to develop displays that include mechanical design solutions to protect against creasing.
Another issue is the device’s hinges. Apple has apparently found a sufficient supply of the hinges, although it is still working on a design that’s more cost-effective and easier to mass-produce, hopefully leading to additional simplification and a possible reduction in the number of required parts.
DigiTimes expects Apple to begin mass production of the foldable iPad in 2025 and also expects the new tablet to give a much-needed boost to iPad shipments, as global tablet shipments continue to fall.
There have been previous reports about Apple’s work on a foldable iPad, as well as a foldable iPhone, which most analysts seem to agree would follow a foldable tablet.
Display analyst Ross Young revealed in 2022 that Apple was testing a foldable iPad with a display measuring in at approximately 20 inches in size. At the time, Young indicated that he expected to see the device hit shelves in 2026 or 2027.
Further, in October 2022, Ben Wood, chief of research at CCS Insight said Apple would enter the foldable device market in 2024, with a foldable iPad. He also predicted Apple would create a foldable tablet before moving on to a foldable iPhone.
Wood told CNBC that it “doesn’t make sense for Apple to make a foldable iPhone” in the current landscape. “We think they will shun that trend and probably dip a toe in the water with a foldable iPad,” he added.
“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,” Wood added. He predicted that a foldable iPhone would likely cost around $2,500.
[The information provided in this article has NOT been confirmed by Apple and may be speculation. Provided details may not be factual. Take all rumors, tech or otherwise, with a grain of salt.]