2024 Global Digital Shopping index

Apple Reportedly Developing a Foldable iPhone 

Apple is reportedly at work on at least two foldable versions of its iPhone.

These new phones would fold widthwise in a clamshell fashion, The Information reported Wednesday (Feb. 7), citing a source with direct knowledge of the project.

As that report notes, the move — assuming it goes forward — would mark one of the biggest hardware design changes in the history of Apple’s flagship device.

However, don’t expect to see a foldable iPhone in stores anytime soon. The source said they are not part of Apple’s plans for mass production in 2024 or 2025, and the project could be jettisoned if the phones don’t meet the company’s standards.

PYMNTS has contacted Apple for comment but has not yet received a reply.

The news comes days after a report by TF International Securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo projected demand for iPhones would be lower in 2024.

“The iPhone faces structural challenges that will lead to a significant decline in shipments in 2024, including the emergence of a new paradigm in high-end mobile phone design and the continued decline in shipments in the Chinese market,” Kuo wrote last week on Medium.

The new paradigm includes foldable phones and the integration of functions powered by generative artificial intelligence (AI) into mobile phones, Kuo added.

During the first week of this year, Apple’s iPhone sales in China fell 30% despite markdowns on several iPhone models in the country.

Analysts at market capital firm Jefferies said at the time that they anticipate the company’s smartphone shipments to continue to drop by double digits in 2024, while China-based Huawei expands its market share.

In discussing the company’s most recent earnings last week, Apple CEO Tim Cook noted that the company’s iPhone sales had dipped by mid-single digits in China.

“We’ve been in China for 30 years,” Cook said, “and I remain very optimistic about China over the long term.” He added that in general in China, “I feel good about hitting a new installed base ‘high watermark’ and very good about the growth in upgrades, year over year.”

The company’s earnings show that during the fiscal first quarter, product sales were up less than 1%, coming to $96.5 billion. 

Taking a closer look at the tech giant’s product lines, iPhone sales were up 5.9%, but iPad sales slipped by about 25% and wearables slid 11%. 

Cook said that the iPads had a “difficult compare” with the debut of newer iterations such as the 10th generation iPad in the December quarter of last year. Mac sales rose by less than 1% during the quarter to $7.7 billion, with overall revenue growth was 2%.

As noted here last year, foldable smartphones are relatively rare, with Google’s Pixel Fold – introduced in May 2023 – among the most high-profile examples in the U.S.