Analyst Ming Chi Kuo predicts that Apple will launch a foldable smartphone with an 8-inch flexible OLED display in 2023, with Apple planning to ship up to 20 million units in that year.
On an investor note, Kuo forecasts Apple’s first foldable smartphone will have an 8-inch QHD+ screen with 3,200-by-1,800 pixels of resolution, which is more than Samsung Fold’s 7.3-inch QXGA+ panel. QHD+ displays feature the same 16:9 aspect ratio as the iPhone 12 and iPhone 12 Pro, a departure from the current 19.5:9 ratio of their counterparts.
The report failed to mention whether the next iPhone will be folded horizontally or vertically.
“According to our most recent survey, the fast-growing foldable smartphone market has become an essential feature of all major smartphone brands,” Kuo writes. “The foldable smartphone will boost the next super replacement cycle for high-end smartphones.”
Apple is anticipated to produce between 15 million and 20 million foldable iPhones in 2023. It is unclear when the handset will be launched, but a relatively low production estimate suggests it will launch in the fall alongside the current iPhone models.
Samsung Display will be the exclusive supplier of Apple’s displays, while Samsung Foundry will take care of the display driver ICs, Kuo said. Previous rumours pointed to a partnership with LG Display, with reports as recently as February claiming Apple tapped the company to assist in developing foldable screen technology. At the time, it was unclear if LG would ultimately supply hardware for a production version of the foldable.