Apple may launch a foldable iPhone with an 8-inch flexible OLED display as early as 2023, according to analyst Ming-Chi Kuo. The foldable iPhone is also predicted to have a 16:9 aspect ratio. Apple has been anticipated to jump on foldable smartphones bandwagon for some time now. Some schematics and patent listings, suggesting the development of a foldable iPhone, have also emerged in the past. However, the Cupertino company has so far maintained silence on the developments and whether it is planning to take on companies including Samsung and Huawei with its foldable iPhone model anytime soon.
Citing a research note addressed to investors, AppleInsider reports that Kuo has predicted that a foldable iPhone will feature an 8-inch QHD+ (1,800×3,200 pixels) display that will have a higher pixel count over the QXGA+ screen available on the Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 2.
The 8-inch foldable iPhone is also said to have a perfect 16:9 aspect ratio. This is unlike the 19.5:9 aspect ratio featured on the iPhone 12 and the iPhone 12 Pro models.
Apple is speculated to produce somewhere between 15 to 20 million units of its foldable iPhone in 2023. This is significantly lower than the usual production quantity of a regular iPhone model.
Kuo said that Samsung Display is likely to be a partner for manufacturing the foldable display for the new iPhone, while Samsung Foundry would handle its display driver ICs. Some previous reports had suggested that LG Display would produce the flexible display panels for Apple’s foldable iPhone.
In addition to Samsung, Apple is reportedly working with Taipei, Taiwan-based touch solution provider TPK to offer its silver nanowire touch solution on the foldable iPhone. The HomePod is already said to have a silver nanowire touch solution that enables touch inputs on its top. But it is unclear if that solution is manufactured by TPK. The Taiwanese manufacturer is, however, one of Apple partners for enabling 3D Touch on earlier iPhone models.
“With its cross-product ecosystems and hardware design advantages, Apple will be the biggest winner in the new foldable device trend,” Kuo said, as quoted by AppleInsider.
Apple is said to have been working on its foldable iPhone for the last few months. The company apparently filed some patent applications for its foldable design that may not just be limited to the iPhone family but also extend to its future iPad lineup. At least two prototypes of the foldable iPhone models are said to being tested internally at a Foxconn factory. A report in November also suggested that the first foldable iPhone could be announced sometime in 2022.