In terms of globally available tech brands, Samsung is more or less on its own in the foldable market. Chinese companies such as Xiaomi also have folding smartphones, but those devices are limited in some regions. It now seems that Samsung's rivals are mobilizing, with Google and Microsoft said to be working on folding devices. Reports suggest Apple too could be ready to launch its foldable iPad in 2024.
It is known that the company is working on folding iDevices. However, consistent reports suggest Apple wants to release a foldable iPad before a foldable iPhone. With the latter device rumored for late 2025 or 2026, that means the folding iPad will need to drop earlier. Apple analyst Ming-Chi Kuo says this is likely to happen in 2024.
Apple wants this new category in the iPad range to boost sales. While the iPad is the dominant product in the tablet market, the sector as a whole is stagnant.
As I reported in December, Apple is looking to 2024 to launch its next generation of iPad Mini, essentially skipping a year. While this device is unlikely to be foldable, it will be part of a new series of iPad models.
Taking it Slow
Apple reportedly sees the folding market as one for expansion. Even so, the company is happy to let Samsung do all the in-world testing for consumer demand. This is a strategy Apple has taken with previous categories, including MP3 players, tablets, and smartphones.
While sales are rising, the market for these devices remains nascent due to the high cost of the handsets. However, analyst firm IDC predicts that by 2026 the number of folding phone shipments will quadruple.
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