Apple iPad iPadOS 16 update release
Apple is reportedly set to launch a foldable iPad next year. Pixabay

While a previously spotted patent suggests Apple is prepping to jump in on the foldable phone bandwagon, it looks like the American tech giant's first foldable device won't be an iPhone.

According to the folks at DigiTimes, Apple could make its foray into the foldable device segment by launching its first-ever foldable iPad. The report, which cites supply chain sources, suggests small-scale production of foldable iPad units is likely to kick off by the end of 2024.

Furthermore, the report claims Apple could announce its maiden foldable iPad either in late 2024 or early 2025. The report aligns with a previous X (Twitter) post by Ming-Chi Kuo.

In his post, the popular analyst predicted Apple will unveil its first foldable iPad in 2024. Aside from this, Kuo noted that Chinese polishing and fitting supplier Anjie Technology will probably receive the contract to manufacture the foldable iPad.

Apple's foldable iPad: Everything we know so far

The Cupertino-based tech giant has neither confirmed nor denied this speculation yet. Unsurprisingly, key details about Apple's first foldable device are also scarce at the moment.

Amid the lack of an official confirmation, Kuo suggests the foldable iPad will sport an eye-catching carbon fibre frame design. So, it is safe to assume that the device will be lighter and more durable.

However, it is still unclear whether Apple will use a single large foldable display with a crease or use a couple of separate displays for the foldable iPad.

It is worth noting that the largest display sported by an iPad is 12.9 inches (iPad Pro). It will be interesting to see which screen size the purported foldable iPad will sport. Apple is also mum on the price tag that its first-ever foldable device will carry.

This is not the first time a rumour surrounding a foldable device by Apple has surfaced online. In an interview with CNBC last year, CCS Insight's Chief Analyst Ben Wood noted that using foldable technology directly on the iPhone could turn out to be a risky move for Apple.

Apparently, a foldable iPhone could end up carrying a steep price tag. On top of that, any issue with the handset could trigger a "feeding frenzy with critics". So, Wood believes Apple will first test foldable technology on the iPad before using the technology on an iPhone.

In the meantime, some reports claim Apple is gearing up to launch a new base model iPad, iPad Air, and iPad Mini in the coming days. Moreover, the new models are expected to pack an upgraded processor under the hood.

The existing iPad Air packs the M1 chip, but its successor could use an M2 processor to draw power. The new iPad Mini and vanilla iPad models are likely to get A16 Bionic SoC. Apple CEO Tim Cook also recently confirmed that the company will continue launching a new iPhone every year.