Apple is working on a foldable iPad mini replacement

Apple foldable
Image Credit: GSMarena

While foldable smartphones have carved a niche in the mobile market, Apple’s presence remains conspicuous by its absence. However, recent reports offer glimpses into the company’s possible foldable future, suggesting a launch in 2026 or 2027.

Inside Apple’s foldable future: All the details we know

Image Credit: GSMarena

Industry reports point towards a device with a 7-8 inch internal display, potentially replacing the iPad mini. This raises questions, considering Apple’s simultaneous exploration of an OLED iPad mini, seemingly at odds with its impending demise. Further muddying the waters are plans to introduce OLED screens to the iPad Pro line this year, potentially delaying an OLED iPad mini until next year.

The choice of display size appears to be evolving. Initial suggestions of 6-7 inch panels from Samsung Display and LG Display seem to have given way to a preference for a larger display. This aligns with Apple’s focus on user experience and the potential for multitasking that comes with a bigger foldable screen.

Partnerships for the foldable displays are also in focus. With vast experience in foldable technology, Samsung Display is a likely frontrunner for initial orders. If Apple adopts a two-supplier strategy, LG Display might begin mass production a year later.

Beyond its first foray, reports point to a 20.25-inch foldable device slated for 2028, blurring the lines between iPad and Mac branding. This larger device hints at Apple‘s ambitions to explore the potential of foldables beyond smartphones, potentially venturing into foldable laptops or a new device category altogether.

Apple’s final design and launch timeline can deviate significantly. Moreover, technical challenges and market conditions can further influence their foldable strategy.

Therefore, while Apple’s interest in foldables seems certain, the specifics remain shrouded in the mist. What’s clear is that the company is closely observing the market and exploring technological advancements. Only time will tell how and when it decides to unfold its hand in this rapidly evolving landscape.

Apple’s Foldable Future: Untangling Rumors and Exploring Possibilities

Foldable iPhone
Image source: CNET

While rumors fly about Apple’s potential entry into the foldable market, let’s delve deeper, analyzing existing reports and adding original research to create a more informed picture.

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Market Trends and Strategic Intent

The foldable market continues to grow, with analysts predicting shipments to reach 30 million units by 2025. This growth, coupled with competitor successes like Samsung’s Galaxy Z Fold series, suggests Apple may face pressure to offer its own foldable device to maintain market share. Additionally, Apple’s historical pattern of innovation suggests an eventual foray into this emerging technology.

Beyond the iPad Mini Replacement

The rumored 7-8 inch foldable initially seemed destined to replace the iPad mini. However, the simultaneous exploration of an OLED iPad mini suggests a more nuanced strategy. Perhaps Apple envisions different use cases for both devices, with the foldable offering multitasking on a larger screen and the mini prioritizing portability. Another possibility is a phased approach, introducing the foldable first and gradually transitioning the mini users over time.

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Balancing Size and Functionality

The reported move towards a larger display aligns with Apple’s focus on user experience and its history of pushing display boundaries. A larger foldable screen could offer enhanced multitasking capabilities, drawing users accustomed to the spaciousness of iPads. However, questions remain about pocketability and one-handed usability with a larger device. Apple will need to strike a balance between maximizing screen real estate and maintaining user comfort.

Partnerships and Production

While Samsung Display seems the frontrunner due to its experience, Apple might consider LG Display to diversify its supply chain and leverage competitive pressure. Additionally, rumors of Apple investing in foldable display technology themselves shouldn’t be dismissed. Exploring internal production could offer greater control and customization, aligning with their vertical integration strategy.

A Glimpse of the Future

The 20.25-inch foldable raises intriguing possibilities. Could it be a foldable MacBook, blurring the lines between tablet and laptop? Or perhaps a completely new device category tailored for specific creative or professional workflows? While details remain scarce, Apple’s history of innovation suggests exciting possibilities beyond conventional foldable smartphones.

A Cautious Approach

It’s essential to remember that these remain rumors and should be treated with caution. Apple’s development process is shrouded in secrecy, and its final product and timeline may differ significantly. Technical hurdles and market reception can also influence their foldable strategy.

However, by analyzing trends, strategic intent, and potential use cases, we can gain a more nuanced understanding of Apple’s possible foldable future. While specifics remain unclear, one thing is certain: Apple is closely observing the market and exploring this evolving technology. The company’s eventual foldable offering, whenever it arrives, will likely be meticulously crafted and strategically positioned, aiming to redefine the user experience in this exciting new mobile frontier.

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