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Well-respected analyst is ‘positive’ Apple will launch a foldable iPad next year

Respected analyst Ming-Chi Kuo reports on Twitter that Apple will launch an “all-new design foldable iPad” next year with “a carbon fiber kickstand.” According to his supply chain sources, Kuo says he is “positive” about the launch of the next-generation tablet, a rare announcement from the analyst who usually errs on the side of caution.

Kuo offers few details about the new device, but there are already rumors that Apple is working on an iPad larger than the 12.9-inch iPad Pro, possibly up to 16 inches. It’s unclear how Apple will market the device or how small it would be when folded.

Despite the many foldable phones on the market from Samsung, Motorola and Oppo, Apple has yet to launch a foldable device and there have been few rumors to suggest one is imminent. Despite Samsung shipping nearly 10 million foldable phones in 2022 the market still represents a small fraction of telephone sales.

A carbon fiber kickstand would be “lighter and stronger,” according to Kuo. It’s unclear whether it’s referring to a feature of the iPad itself or an accessory, as Apple has never made a device with a built-in kickstand, although cases like its just-released Magic Keyboard Folio do include kickstands.

Little else is known about the foldable iPad, including whether it has an external display to use when folded like the Galaxy Z Fold or how it will fold without leaving a gap. Samsung’s foldable devices all have a small U-shaped opening when closed due to the hinge, a design choice Apple is unlikely to use. A recent patent (translation) shows Samsung developing a “waterdrop hinge” that allows the case to fold flush, but it has yet to make its way into a shipping product.

According to Kuo, the foldable iPad will follow an unprecedented lull in releases that could go more than a year without a new iPad. Apple released the iPad M2 Pro and 10th generation iPad in October, but Kuo doesn’t expect any new models for the next 9-12 months. He expects the iPad mini, which was last updated with a complete redesign in September 2021 and likely to carry little more than a new processor, to “begin mass production in 1Q24.”