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Apple’s foldable iPhone might come in 2023

Apple's foldable iPhone might come in 2023

Apple is reportedly seriously considering building a foldable smartphone, and it’s likely to launch in 2023. 

This is according to Apple analyst Ming-Chi Kuo (via MacRumors), who claims that the device will have an 8-inch, QHD+, flexible OLED display. 

It’s worth noting that Kuo is generally bullish on foldable smartphones. His opinion, according to his later note to investors, is that “foldable devices will blur the product segmentations between smartphones, tablets, and laptops in the future,” and that Apple will be the “biggest winner” in this new trend. 

An image from one of Apple's patents for a foldable phone, depicting the device's hinge.

An image from one of Apple’s patents for a foldable phone, depicting the device’s hinge.

Image: apple
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Smartphone shipments jumped 27% globally in Q1

More good news from a smartphone market currently rebounding from the far reaching impacts of the pandemic. New numbers from Canalys put global shipments for Q1 2021 at 27% above where they were the same time last year.

The industry was hit early and hit hard by Covid-19. The first quarter saw company running into serious supply chain issues as the pandemic first hit China and parts of Asia where most manufacturing occurs. Following that, demand began to slow, as fewer people were interested in buying mobile devices, coupled with broader economic and job impacts.

Image Credits: Canalys

Samsung continued to lead the way globally, with 76.5 million, up from 59.6 million, representing a 28% jump, year-over-year. In all, the company controls around 22% of global shipments (same as a year prior).

In second place, Apple represented the biggest jump of the quarter, with a 41% increase from 37.1 million to 52.4 million. That no doubt owes substantially to the big upgrades that arrived toward to the end of last year. Huawei’s struggles, meanwhile, have knocked the company out of the top five.

“Xiaomi is in pole position to be the new Huawei,” said Canalys’ Ben Stanton said in a release. “Its competitors offer superior channel margin, but Xiaomi’s sheer volume actually gives distributors a better opportunity to make money than rival brands. But the race is not over. Oppo and Vivo are hot on its heels, and are positioning in the mid-range in many regions to box Xiaomi in at the low end.”

The study also notes that LG’s exit from the category should mix things up a bit, as well, particularly in the Americas region, which accounted for 80% of the company’s sales last year.

Apple sales bounce back in China as Huawei loses smartphone crown

Huawei’s smartphone rivals in China are quickly divvying up the market share it has lost over the past year.

92.4 million units of smartphones were shipped in China during the first quarter, with Vivo claiming the crown with a 23% share and its sister company Oppo following closely behind with 22%, according to market research firm Canalys. Huawei, of which smartphone sales took a hit after U.S. sanctions cut key chip parts off its supply chain, came in third at 16%. Xiaomi and Apple took the fourth and fifth spot respectively.

All major smartphone brands but Huawei saw a jump in their market share in China from Q1 2020. Apple’s net sales in Greater China nearly doubled year-over-year to $17.7 billion in the three months ended March, a quarter of all-time record revenue for the American giant, according to its latest financial results.

“We’ve been especially pleased by the customer response in China to the iPhone 12 family,”
said Tim Cook during an earnings call this week. “You have to remember that China entered the shutdown phase earlier in Q2 of last year than other countries. And so they were relatively more affected in that quarter, and that has to be taken into account as you look at the results.”

Huawei’s share shrunk from a dominant 41% to 16% in a year’s time, though the telecom equipment giant managed to increase its profit margin partly thanks to slashed costs. In November, it sold off its budget phone line Honor.

This quarter is also the first time China’s smartphone market has grown in four years, with a growth rate of 27%, according to Canalys.

“Leading vendors are racing to the top of the market, and there was an unusually high number of smartphone launches this quarter compared with Q1 2020 or even Q4 2020,” said Canalys analyst Amber Liu.

“Huawei’s sanctions and Honor’s divestiture have been hallmarks of this new market growth, as consumers and channels become more open to alternative brands.”