Foldables are growing in popularity — Samsung’s mobile chief has even stated that these multi-form factor devices will become the new standard as soon as 2025. Apple doesn’t always jump on the bandwagon immediately, but it grabs attention when it does. As everyone waits for a foldable iPhone, analysts are now predicting the company will go bigger with its first foldable. Instead of starting with the iPhone, Apple may make the iPad its first folding endeavor.
This speculation comes from CCS Insight, which just released its annual technology predictions report. One of its most striking predictions is that Apple will bypass the foldable iPhone everyone is expecting and will instead focus on a foldable version of the iPad. While CCS concedes that foldables are gaining steam, the risk of negatively impacting the iPhone lineup is too great for that to be Apple’s first move, it says.
According to the report, Apple would have to price a foldable iPhone higher to avoid cannibalizing its flat iPhone sales. A top-of-the-line iPhone 14 Pro Max could run you $1,600 if you get the largest 1TB storage option. Foldables are expensive to produce, and CCS believes that Apple, which insists on big hardware profit margins, would therefore want to price a foldable iPhone at $2,500. That would be a significant increase over Samsung’s flagship Galaxy Z Fold lineup, the fourth generation of which currently retails for $1,800.
The other argument made to justify the foldable prediction is tied to Apple’s reputation for refined hardware. CCS says that even minor issues with a redesigned iPhone would cost Apple dearly as its critics engage in a “feeding frenzy,” reports CNBC. Meanwhile, a foldable iPad would get Apple into the foldable game without as much risk, while also breathing new life into its increasingly undifferentiated tablet lineup.
How likely is this to be accurate? CCS Insight’s track record could provide some clarity. It has been making these annual predictions for several years, and it’s been right on a few notable points. In 2020, CCS said that around half of office employees would still be working from home at least part-time in 2022, and that’s roughly accurate. It also claimed that Apple’s focus on privacy would hit Facebook’s bottom line hard. That checks out, too. Although, it’s also missed on more than one occasion. In 2019 CCS predicted Samsung would release “Galaxy Glasses” in 2022, and that never came to be. Nor did Amazon purchase any 5G spectrum licenses in 2021 — it uses the open CBRS spectrum for small-scale private 5G for enterprises. We’d give the foldable prediction even odds, but it’s an interesting take.
Apple’s plans are impossible to know given its strict code of silence — employees can be terminated simply for posting pictures of themselves at work. All those years of Apple television sets and car predictions from analysts have certainly made us wary, but a foldable iPad doesn’t seem as pie in the sky.