An all-screen, dual-use MacBook featuring a full-size keyboard and a 20-inch display that folds in half may drop in 2025, creating a new category for Apple.
- Apple’s first folding screen laptop could be a MacBook of sorts
- Its display, when unfolded, would measure 20 inches diagonally
- An all-screen foldable MacBook would be a dual-use product
- Such a device could form a new product category for Apple
A foldable 20-inch MacBook predicted to drop in 2025
Display analyst Ross Young, who has thus far correctly predicted a bunch of new Apple product features and devices, says Apple is discussing with its suppliers the feasibility of an all-screen foldable notebook. A foldable MacBook may drop in 2025 at the earliest, but Young says 2026 or 2027 is a more reasonable timeframe.
Apparently, Apple is experimenting with a notebook sporting a 20-inch display that could be used as an external monitor when unfolded or a notebook with a full-size software keyboard when unfolded. The Cupertino company, along with supplier, is reportedly investigating 20-inch displays for notebooks that could bend in half whilst allowing for 4K resolution in a fully unfolded mode.
From his report over at the Display Supply Chain Consultants (DSCC) website.
We are now showing Apple in our roadmap for foldable notebooks. We hear there is interest at the largest size yet, around 20.x 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. It may also allow for UHD/4K resolution or even higher at that size. The time frame is likely later than 2025 though, it could be 2026 or 2027.
Aside from working on foldable notebooks, Young also thinks Apple might have delayed its rumored foldable iPhone until at least 2025, or possibly beyond that.
The reason for the delay is said to be two-fold (no pun intended). First, Apple apparently isn’t in a hurry to enter the still-nascent market for foldable smartphones. And second, the technology doesn’t seem to be there yet even if you take into account the latest foldable phones from Samsung and others.
How about foldable Windows laptops?
Devices with foldable screens certainly aren’t new, but notebooks with screens that fold in half are few and far between. In the Windows world, things began picking up steam at the start of 2022 when Intel during its CES 2022 announced work on a foldable laptop specification. Read: 40+ tips to save battery on your MacBook
The first Windows-based foldable notebooks should start arriving later in 2022. For what it’s worth, Lenovo’s ThinkPad X1 Fold, released in 2020, is the world’s first foldable notebook PC for $2,500. The bigger problem is that Windows 11 currently isn’t optimized to support foldable display technology in notebooks.
Apple on its part is rumored to be working on a foldable iPhone for years now. It has also filed several patents concerning various technological solutions that could one day be used to realize such a device, including all-glass keyboards with key layouts that could dynamically change from one app to another.
iDB’s take: We’re not entirely convinced
Foldable laptops do sound like a novel idea. Provided such devices arrive at some point in 2022 as the Intel camp is promising, we’ll have to try them out for ourselves before judging their utility. For now, the foldable notebook seems like a nice idea on paper that gives a good demo but isn’t very useful for everyday computing.
Even Young seems to struggle imaging the potential use cases. Would a foldable MacBook be more like a tablet or a notebook? Might it work as a tabletop, perhaps? Are we talking about a crossover between the 2-in-1 concept and foldable technology here? Read: How to find out your MacBook battery cycle count
Only Apple knows the answer to those questions and Apple isn’t a company that rushes things to market. Ultimately, we would say that Apple is certainly researching foldables and even experimenting with a foldable MacBook of sorts. But that doesn’t necessarily mean the company will ever release one, and we’re certainly not convinced about the potential usefulness of a foldable MacBook.
To us, Young’s prediction sounds more like a foldable iPad, not a MacBook.