Apple will release a foldable iPad with a carbon fiber kickstand in 2024, according to noted Apple supply chain analyst Ming-Chi Kuo.
Kuo says the new foldable iPad will have a carbon fiber kickstand to make it lighter and more durable, presumably compared to an iPad's Magic Keyboard. The kickstand would be manufactured by Chinese firm Anjie Technology.
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"I'm positive about the foldable iPad in 2024 and expect this new model will boost shipments and improve the product mix," Kuo tweeted on Monday.
He's also predicting that Apple will begin mass production of an updated iPad mini in the first quarter of 2024, but doesn't expect there to be any new iPad releases in the next nine to 12 months.
Kuo revised a previous prediction last April that Apple will release a foldable iPhone in 2024 and said instead it could be a foldable iPad or a hybrid of an iPad and iPhone.
He changed his Apple foldable prediction after Display Supply Chain Consultants analyst Ross Young last February said Apple was investigating foldable notebooks with a 20-inch screen. Bloomberg's Mark Gurman reported at the time that Apple was exploring a dual-screen, foldable MacBook and iPad hybrid, with the second screen serving as a virtual keyboard. But he said Apple would likely release it in 2026.
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Rumors of Apple's foldable iPad follow Gurman's January report that Apple is seriously considering making a MacBook Pro with a touchscreen -- something that Steve Jobs once said was an "ergonomically terrible" concept. However, touchscreen capability has become popular for Windows laptops. Apple could release the touchscreen MacBook in 2025.
Apple does hold a number of patents for folding devices. Earlier this month, it was awarded another one. However it is yet to ship any folding devices, which puts it behind several of its key rivals. Samsung, whose Galaxy Flip and Fold dominate foldable sales, last year created several ads mocking Apple's lack of a foldable device around its iPhone 14 launch.
Tech analyst IDC's latest forecast for foldable smartphone is that shipments will hit 41.5 million in 2026, up 66% from the 8.1 million units shipped in 2021, and up from 13.5 million in 2022. Foldables make up 1.1% of the overall smartphone market. IDC previously predicted foldable phones shipments will reach 27.6 million units by 2025.
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At the moment, flip-style foldables are more popular than the larger tablet-like format. Samsung said that 70% of Galaxy foldable buyers picked the Flip, and 30% picked the Fold, when it announced that 10 million foldable smartphones were sold in 2021.