Based on our latest industry survey, we forecast that Apple will likely launch a foldable iPhone with an 8-inch QHD+ flexible OLED display in 2023, with SDC as the exclusive display supplier and Samsung Foundry as the exclusive DDI foundry provider. Based on Apple's requested capacity plan, we predict that the foldable iPhone shipments will reach 15-20 million units in 2023. We expect that the foldable iPhone will adopt TPK's silver nanowire touch solution because of its several advantages over SDC's Y-Octa technology.Kuo
According to the report, it is expected that the foldable iPhone will use a new silver nanowire wire touch solution for its display which Kuo believes will create a "long-term competitive advantage" for Apple in the foldable device market as this technology will be needed for future foldable device that supports more than one fold.
Future foldable devices will require touch technology that supports multiple folds (vs. only a single fold in current foldable smartphones), rollable, medium to large size display, and durability. When comparing the advantages of the above specifications, the silver nanowire is similar or superior to SDC's Y-Octa.Kuo
Kuo predicts that foldable phones will become the next major segment for all major smartphone brands as they will come to see foldable phones as a must-have and this will boost the next super replacement cycle for high-end models. Kuo believes Apple is well-positioned to be big winners in the foldable device trend as they are expected to ship nearly 15 to 20 million foldable iPhones in 2023.
At present, the product position of foldable smartphones is mainly to integrate the smartphone and tablet. But we believe that the foldable smartphone is only one of the applications of the foldable design. We predict that foldable devices will blur the product segmentations between smartphones, tablets, and laptops in the future. With its cross-product ecosystems and hardware design advantages, Apple will be the biggest winner in the new foldable device trend.Kuo
Kuo had previously reported about foldable iPhones coming in 2023 back in March, but at the time, he mentioned that for the timeline to be achieved Apple will have to figure out some key technological, mass production, and supply chain issues.
Though the development of foldable iPhones hasn't kicked off yet officially, we believe Apple's plans might have taken a step forward with Kuo providing details on the type of display technology intended for the foldable iPhones.