Apple is working on a 20-inch foldable display, which could take the form of an upcoming MacBook Pro.
This goes by a report from Korean site The Elec (opens in a new tab) (spotted by MacRumors (opens in a new tab)) which claims that industry sources believe Apple has just begun development of the display , so we are still apparently in the early stages of the project. The initial prototype is based on a 20,25-inch OLED display from an unspecified South Korean vendor.
As The Elec points out, this puts it in the laptop size category, as when folded it would give the user a 15,3-inch screen, which would be a good fit for a MacBook Pro (which would be 20,25). inches fully extended).
However, don't think you'll see this innovation any time soon. According to the report, the production target for a 20-inch foldable is 2026-2027, so there's still half a decade to go. If Apple doesn't drop the idea during prototyping and testing, of course, that's the fate of a lot of potential hardware.
As the report also makes clear, Apple is likely to want to adopt OLED displays (rather than LCD) in MacBooks and iPads before this foldable arrives. The Elec believes that 2025 will be the year a MacBook Pro with an OLED screen arrives, to be preceded by OLED-powered iPads in 2024, as previously reported.
Analysis: You have to know when to hold them, know when to fold them...
For the uninitiated, a foldable laptop is actually a giant screen that folds in half, like the Asus Zenbook 17 Fold OLED we saw at IFA earlier this year. In other words, the keyboard section is omitted to double the screen size, and the screen can facilitate a kind of virtual keyboard to use as a laptop. But the screen can also lay flat like a big screen or be used as a full 20-inch monitor on a desk with a mouse and keyboard, adding a nice dose of flexibility to the device.
This isn't the first time we've heard of a foldable MacBook, either, with the possibility being rumored as early as 2022. In fact, that earlier speculation was based on Apple considering a 20-inch display for this MacBook, with the arrival date fixed. to 2026 or 2027.
So this latest report reflects exactly that and gives it even more weight, but as always we should be very skeptical of anything that goes over the grapevine. Even if that's true right now, it's possible Apple will put the project on hold at some point in the future, especially given the long development timeline on offer here.
Five years is absolutely an eternity in the tech world, but then again, theoretically launching so far into the future could be a good thing, at least as far as the better crafted mechanical side of a big folding screen goes. We've always been wary of foldables, and certainly integrated foldables that aren't just two screens (with a very thin bezel in the middle), but given a fair amount of time for technological advances to take hold, maybe Maybe Apple could produce a really stylish and well-designed foldable MacBook Pro. (Let's try not to think about past innovations that didn't work as well, like the butterfly keyboard, for example.)
The bigger question might be: do we want a foldable MacBook Pro? We at TechRadar have argued in the past that this seems like a pretty silly idea for a variety of reasons, one of which is that any virtual keyboard is going to be a far inferior typing experience to a physical game. Then again, maybe haptics will make a lot of progress in half a decade, but all of that seems like a long way down the road of budding rumors.
Still, you never know, and with this speculation now popping up twice this year, perhaps the foldable MacBook Pro really is a concept Apple is seriously evaluating for the future.
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