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-gen tablet, a rare proclamation 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 as large as 16 inches. It’s not clear how Apple would market the device or how small it would be when folded.
Despite numerous folding phones on the market from Samsung, Motorola, and Oppo, Apple has yet to launch a folding device and there have been few rumors to suggest one is imminent. Despite Samsung shipping nearly 10 million folding phones in 2022, the market still represents a small fraction of phone sales.
A carbon fiber kickstand would be “lighter and more durable,” according to Kuo. It’s not clear whether he’s referring to a feature of the iPad itself or an accessory, as Apple has never made a device that had a built-in kickstand, though cases like its newly released Magic Keyboard Folio, do include kickstands.
Little else is known about the folding iPad, including whether it has an outside screen to use when folded like the Galaxy Z Fold or how it will close without leaving a gap. Samsung’s folding devices all have a small U-shaped opening when close due to the hinge, a design choice Apple is very unlikely to use. A recent patent (translation) shows Samsung developing a “water drop type hinge” that lets the case fold flush but it’s yet to make its way into a shipping product.
According to Kuo, the folding iPad will follow an unprecedented lull in releases that could see over a year without a new iPad. Apple released the M2 iPad Pro and 10th generation iPad in October but Kuo isn’t expecting any new models for the next 9-12 months. He expects the next iPad mini, which was last updated with a complete redesign in September 2021 and will likely bring little more than a new processor, to “begin mass production in 1Q24.”