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Apple targeting 2024 for first foldable, analyst says

A new report suggests Apple could release its first foldable device in 2024 — but it might not be an iPhone.

Instead, the tech giant is more likely to release a foldable iPad, an analyst from CCS Insight told CNBC this week.

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“Right now, it doesn’t make sense for Apple to make a foldable iPhone,” said Ben Wood, chief of research at CCS Insight, a firm that’s been following developments in the mobile communications sector for the last 30 years.

Wood said he believed Apple would avoid the trend of foldable phones and instead “dip a toe in the water with a foldable iPad.”

Such a move would allow the Cupertino, California-based company to try out foldable technology before going all in with a foldable iPhone, and also “breathe new life” into the iPad lineup.

CCS Insight’s view chimes with other reports suggesting that Apple is working on a foldable with a display larger than that of a smartphone. Respected Apple leaker Mark Gurman, for example, said in February that the company is developing a “dual-screen, foldable MacBook/iPad hybrid” with a 20-inch display.

Ming-Chi Kuo, another analyst who’s called it right on many Apple-related forecasts, said in April that while he had expected the company to launch its first foldable device in the form of a smartphone as early as 2024, new information now made him think that Apple may in fact launch a “foldable iPad or a hybrid of iPad and iPhone” in 2025 — a year later than what CCS Insight is predicting.

Foldable Macbook concept image created by LunaDisplay.

CCS Insight’s Wood also said that kicking off with a folding iPhone would be a “super high-risk” move for Apple, as any kind of hardware issues of the kind that plagued early versions of similar foldable devices by rival makers would lead to Apple’s reputation taking a big hit. The price for Apple’s first foldable phone could be eye-watering, too, with Wood suggesting it could cost as much as $2,500, that’s $900 more than the most expensive iPhone 14.

Ultimately, mobile trends mean that Apple will be compelled to launch a foldable iPhone at some point, Wood said, but the growing consensus seems to be that before that happens, a larger foldable from the company will land first.

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