Image: An Apple Store in Shibuya, Japan. Flickr user Dick Thomas Johnson // CC 2.0 License

Apple has been a noteworthy absence when it comes to foldable smartphones, especially when the likes of Samsung and Motorola have been churning out multiple iterations of foldable phones and tablets for years. However, this may change owing to a new development – a new report by 9to5mac reveals that the Cupertino-headquartered tech behemoth could be accelerating production of its first foldable devices, with a massive 20.3-inch foldable blurring the lines between MacBook and iPad potentially entering mass production by late 2025.

According to a new investor note by Haitong International Securities analyst Jeff Pu, Apple might be employing a two-pronged strategy for its foldable ambitions. The first device, targeted for production in late 2025, is the large 20.3-inch foldable that was mentioned earlier, and is said to bridge the gap between a MacBook and an iPad. This aligns with previous reports from Ming-Chi Kuo and Ross Young, who have indicated Apple’s development of a large foldable MacBook with a similar release window, and is set to target the “ultra- high-end market.” And to go with this, a foldable iPhone may be launched as early as late 2026 as well. Apple is reportedly considering two potential screen sizes for the foldable iPhone: 7.9 inches and 8.3 inches – all under a “new line-up.” For its part, the company has already filed a patent with the US Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) back in October.

For its part, the foldable phone market is experiencing significant growth, defying the slight decline observed in the overall smartphone market. Counterpoint Research reports a remarkable 64% year-on-year increase in the foldable segment for Q1 2023. This growth trajectory is further bolstered by projections from Stellar Market Research, which estimates the foldable smartphone market to reach a staggering $131.34 billion by 2030. It appears Apple is keen on capturing a slice of this rapidly expanding pie.

While the foldable devices remain a glimpse into the future (for now), Apple fans have a more immediate event to look forward to. The company’s upcoming “Let Loose” event on May 7th is expected to showcase a range of new iPads and accessories. The spotlight is likely to be on the new iPad Pro models, rumored to receive a significant upgrade with the first-ever OLED displays for a more vivid viewing experience. The event might also see the introduction of a larger 12.9-inch iPad Air, previously a size reserved for the Pro lineup.

If Apple does roll out these foldable devices, then it would undoubtedly shake things up, potentially providing a stiff challenge to existing players like Samsung and Motorola. Both of these companies, alongside other competitors in the market, will have to innovate and enhance their offerings to remain competitive. Apple’s newest products could also provide a boost to the growth of the foldable device market, attracting a wider range of consumers, as Apple already enjoys an impressive user base in the largest tech landscape. For consumers, they will have a wider variety of foldable options for consumers. This would cater to different preferences for size, functionality, and usage scenarios.