A Foldable Apple MacBook/iPad Hybrid Could Be in the Works

A Foldable Apple MacBook/iPad Hybrid Could Be in the Works
The Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Fold. Image: Lenovo

Following reports that Apple is interested in 20-inch folding screens, Mark Gurman, a journalist with a history of accurate reporting on Apple, has weighed in on the supposed foldable Mac/iPad device.

According to Gurman in his Bloomberg newsletter, Apple has indeed been working on a foldable MacBook/iPad hybrid for the past couple of years.

“I’m told Apple has indeed been exploring a dual-screen, foldable MacBook/iPad hybrid,” Gurman wrote.

“It would trade in the physical keyboard and trackpad for a fully touch-screen base.”

Laptops with foldable screens aren’t something new, but they are an interesting piece of tech for Apple to explore.

Going back to the original rumours from February 22, Apple is still working on its foldable iPhone and is interested in 20-inch foldable screens, as discussed by display industry analyst Ross Young.

According to Young, who writes for Display Supply Chain, Apple is now delaying the release of the foldable iPhone to sometime after 2025. Young is a pretty reputable leaker in the industry, but of course, take expectations lightly. We were originally expecting the foldable iPhone to release sometime soonish, but the foldable MacBook/iPad hybrid rumours are pretty fresh.

“We delayed our expectations for Apple entering the foldable smartphone market by two years to 2025 after discussions with our supply chain contacts,” says Young.

“The company does not appear to be in a hurry to enter the foldable smartphone market, and it may even take longer than that.”

Young then went on to discuss Apple’s interest in larger folding screens.

“We hear there is interest at the largest size yet, around 20-inches. This size could create a new category for Apple and would result in a true dual use product, a notebook with a full-size keyboard when folded and for use as a monitor when not folded and used with an external keyboard,” Young added.

The screen in question could also allow for UHD/4K resolution at that size, according to Young, with a timeframe expected for between 2025 and 2027.

This could be pretty massive for the notebook space. Folding-screen notebooks aren’t exactly a big thing yet, with foldable screen technology still very much in the development state.

The fact that Apple is still considering the foldable iPhone is pretty promising, although knowing that Samsung has now released a few foldable phones and Oppo is releasing a folding and a rolling phone, the iPhone maker is set to be late to the party. Motorola and Huawei also already exist within the space.

Which isn’t unlike Apple. It often takes Apple a year or two to jump on important emerging technology types, like with the iPad or 120hz refresh rates on phones.

Beyond folding Apples, Young revealed a few more things in his latest report.

Firstly, foldable panel shipments went up by 207 per cent between 2021 and 2022, with Samsung enjoying an 88 per cent share of foldable smartphone shipments. Adding on this, Young expects foldable shipments to rise by more than 100 per cent in 2022.

Additionally, Young predicts that TCL and Xiaomi will enter the clamshell foldables space this year (phones that fold like the Motorola Razr). Google, which was originally thought to enter the space in 2021, is now thought to enter the foldable phone space in late 2022.

You can read Young’s findings on the Display Supply Chain website.

This article has been updated since it was first published and we’ll continue to make changes as we learn more.