A new Supply Chain report claims that Apple may be considering a foldable iPad mini as their first foldable device
A new supply chain report this morning claims that Apple is considering releasing a foldable device in the 7 to 8-inch range, which would point to a foldable iPad mini. The product launch is expected as early as 2026-2027. There are also observations that this product, which has the potential to be Apple's first foldable device, could replace the 8.3-inch iPad mini model, which is a tablet. However, as Apple is also in the process of developing OLED for the iPad mini, it is estimated that Apple has not yet decided on the nature and specifications of the this first-generation device, according to The Elec.
Last year Samsung Display and LG Display are known to have sent Apple samples of foldable panels in the 6-7 inch range.
Among panel companies, Samsung Display is known to be more active in developing Apple foldable panels than LG Display. This supports Patently Apple's December 2023 report titled " Samsung is organizing a new team for developing Foldable Devices like a hybrid tablet-notebook for Apple."
Once mass production is decided, Samsung Display is expected to produce the foldable panel from the 6th generation A3 or A4 OLED line that produces iPhone OLED. In December of last year, Samsung Display carried out an organizational reorganization based on focusing its capabilities on responding to Apple's foldable products and establishing an independent microdisplay team for extended reality (XR) devices.
Samsung Display has a market advantage as it has accumulated experience in mass production by supplying panels for their foldable Galaxy Z Fold LG Display is could start mass production of Apple's foldable panel a year after Samsung Display.
While Apple has not confirmed the specifications of its first foldable product, Apple, Samsung Display, LG Display, etc. are discussing Ultrathin Glass (UTG), the foldable panel cover window, and the hinge concept, which is the core of the product mechanism. It is known that everyone has different approaches.
While Apple is considering a 20" foldable, it appears that they may first start with a less aggressive iPad model to gain experience.
Apple has a great number of foldable device patents on record that you could review here. Apple's engineering teams have only revealed the intended foldable device target once back in March 2021 wherein their patent claims clearly identified their intended foldable as a "Laptop." A foldable "laptop" would likely translate to a hybrid iPad-notebook to compete with a new wave of such hybrids coming to market in the 2024-2025 timeline. In the big picture, the vast majority of foldable devices have been generic in nature.