20-inch foldable MacBook rumored to launch as soon as 2026

Posted:
in Future Apple Hardware edited December 2022
Rumors from the supply chain suggest that Apple will roll out OLED not just to the iPad, but also to a folding MacBook Pro as soon as 2026.

A folding MacBook could be 20.25-inches unfolded
A folding MacBook could be 20.25-inches unfolded


Rumors surrounding a folding Apple product have been circulating since Samsung launched its first foldable. Even as most expect an iPhone Fold sometime in the near future, some rumors suggest Apple is looking to larger folding displays too.

A report from supply chain analysts at The Elec suggests that Apple will produce a foldable with a 20.25-inch display that will fold shut into a 15.3-inch device. This product is expected to be a MacBook Pro, though it wouldn't be ready for release until 2026 or 2027.

Prior to the 20-inch folding MacBook, Apple will work its way up to that product by updating its product lines with similar technology first -- at least according to this report. The Elec has shared an entire roadmap from today's LCD products to the foldables of tomorrow.

Folding roadmap

First, Apple will transition the iPad to OLED in 2024, with an 11-inch iPad Pro and 12.9-inch iPad Pro sporting the technology. LG Display and Samsung Display are allegedly developing OLED for these products.

Then, Apple would release OLED MacBooks in 2025. Later in 2025, Apple would release its first foldable -- an iPad mini-sized product. According to The Elec, Apple would never release a folding iPhone since the product has no reason to fold at such a small size.

A device that opens into a 7-inch tablet is more likely than a small folding phone
A device that opens into a 7-inch tablet is more likely than a small folding phone


Then, finally, Apple would have reason, technology, and ability to release its 20.25-inch folding MacBook in 2026 or 2027.

Remain skeptical

The Elec is hit-and-miss when it comes to rumors. It tends to be most accurate when discussing supply chain information but isn't always able to determine product roadmaps.

The large-screen foldable rumor has been shared before by Ross Young at DSCC. However, the rest appears to be speculative at best, and should be treated as such.

Apple develops a lot of products internally that never see the light of day. Even some products make it to prototyping stages, like the mysterious Apple Magic Charger, and are canned at the last second. So, supply chain orders aren't always able to be tied to products that will exist.

Read on AppleInsider

Comments

  • Reply 1 of 19
    rob53rob53 Posts: 3,087member
    I don’t want gimmicks I want quality products that simply run right. No foldable displays for me. The crease would constantly distract me. 
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 2 of 19
    "So, supply chain orders aren't always able to be tied to products that will exist."

    Let me fix that for you: Supply chain orders are NEVER able to be tied to products that are supposedly 4 or 5 years down the road.  

    watto_cobraMrBunsideFileMakerFeller
  • Reply 3 of 19
    JP234JP234 Posts: 771member
    That's the second dumbest idea I've heard all year. Right after Apple becoming an automaker. Hopefully neither comes to pass, and Apple continues to make a crapload of money doing what it does best, rather than branching into gimmicks, acquisitions or segments in which they have no expertise.
    MrBunside
  • Reply 4 of 19
    JP234 said:
    That's the second dumbest idea I've heard all year. Right after Apple becoming an automaker. Hopefully neither comes to pass, and Apple continues to make a crapload of money doing what it does best, rather than branching into gimmicks, acquisitions or segments in which they have no expertise.
    So in 2006 were you saying - ‘I’d rather they don’t branch out and create a phone, watch, etc since they have no expertise in these areas.’?
    watto_cobraJP234urahararrabu
  • Reply 5 of 19
    Nope. What serious creative professional would want creases in their screen? Just return us to a 17-inch MBP and stop working on gimmicks.
    watto_cobraM68000
  • Reply 6 of 19
    thttht Posts: 4,719member
    Yup to the comments. Mind as well has said it would come out in 2036.
    watto_cobraurahara
  • Reply 7 of 19
    I really am interested in an iMac refresh - and am equally baffled by the lack of rumours about that. 
    watto_cobrawilliamlondonopuscroakus
  • Reply 8 of 19
    jblongzjblongz Posts: 157member
    Let's save the flexible displays for new generation books so we can have the feeling of turning pages with sustainable materials.  Imagine a book with thin OLED display pages. One physical book for many digital books.  A wild idea yes, but more practical than folding laptop screens.
    edited December 2022 watto_cobraiOS_Guy80
  • Reply 9 of 19
    mattinozmattinoz Posts: 1,979member
    I'd be interested in foldable MacBook that can be a 20inch tablet or iMac depending on my use case. Also folding mini would be nice too. team the pair with a watch and I think it could be my whole computing eco-system.
    watto_cobratht
  • Reply 10 of 19
    JP234JP234 Posts: 771member
    ackpfft said:
    JP234 said:
    That's the second dumbest idea I've heard all year. Right after Apple becoming an automaker. Hopefully neither comes to pass, and Apple continues to make a crapload of money doing what it does best, rather than branching into gimmicks, acquisitions or segments in which they have no expertise.
    So in 2006 were you saying - ‘I’d rather they don’t branch out and create a phone, watch, etc since they have no expertise in these areas.’?
    Nope, I thought it was the greatest idea Steve Jobs ever had. Of course, startup costs for a smartphone that is assembled by an existing Chinese factory are a quantum level cheaper than creating an entire internal infrastructure, staff and manufacturing plant. And the potential liabilities are far less. Every EV automaker has had to issue huge recalls for safety and quality control issues, and settle lawsuits for injuries, deaths and defects for millions and even billions. And that's not even factoring the damage to a company's reputation from said problems.

    In addition, the iPhone was just the logical outgrowth of the iPod, using much of the same tech and parts, with the same engineers & designers. Same with the watch.
    The expertise and experience were already in place, so comparing an iPhone to a startup car company can't be accurately judged by anyone. Not me, not you.
    muthuk_vanalingam
  • Reply 11 of 19
    uraharaurahara Posts: 689member
    ackpfft said:
    JP234 said:
    That's the second dumbest idea I've heard all year. Right after Apple becoming an automaker. Hopefully neither comes to pass, and Apple continues to make a crapload of money doing what it does best, rather than branching into gimmicks, acquisitions or segments in which they have no expertise.
    So in 2006 were you saying - ‘I’d rather they don’t branch out and create a phone, watch, etc since they have no expertise in these areas.’?
    Let’s not forget 2001. The year when Apple came into the MP3 players market. They were new in a very competitive market. And Apple took it by storm. 

    Some people are early adopters. Some are in the category of the followers. “Gimmicks, no expertise” sounds like words a “follower” person would tend to use. 
  • Reply 12 of 19
    thttht Posts: 4,719member
    mattinoz said:
    I'd be interested in foldable MacBook that can be a 20inch tablet or iMac depending on my use case. Also folding mini would be nice too. team the pair with a watch and I think it could be my whole computing eco-system.
    Yup. It's a 4-for if they have a 360° hinge.

    Unfolded at 180° on a stand: AIO computer.
    Unfolded at 180° flat on a table: desk tablet.
    Folded 100 to 140°: laptop.
    Folded 360°: tablet. Thick, but still a tablet.

    You could do a big version of a laptop where you have it at 180° flat on a table and connected to an external display, and use it as the input device. So software keyboard, software trackpad, Pencil, whatever else UI, for input and control of stuff on the vertical external display.

    The iPad can be a 6mm thick device. Folded in half, about 12mm. Actually thinner than the original iPad, first 3 gens of iPhone, and as thick as the M2 MBA or the iMac 24.

    They need to get iPadOS mature with more windowing, more multitasking, more functionality, which is probably more work.
  • Reply 13 of 19
    mattinozmattinoz Posts: 1,979member
    tht said:
    mattinoz said:
    I'd be interested in foldable MacBook that can be a 20inch tablet or iMac depending on my use case. Also folding mini would be nice too. team the pair with a watch and I think it could be my whole computing eco-system.
    Yup. It's a 4-for if they have a 360° hinge.

    Unfolded at 180° on a stand: AIO computer.
    Unfolded at 180° flat on a table: desk tablet.
    Folded 100 to 140°: laptop.
    Folded 360°: tablet. Thick, but still a tablet.

    You could do a big version of a laptop where you have it at 180° flat on a table and connected to an external display, and use it as the input device. So software keyboard, software trackpad, Pencil, whatever else UI, for input and control of stuff on the vertical external display.

    The iPad can be a 6mm thick device. Folded in half, about 12mm. Actually thinner than the original iPad, first 3 gens of iPhone, and as thick as the M2 MBA or the iMac 24.

    They need to get iPadOS mature with more windowing, more multitasking, more functionality, which is probably more work.
    You left out the 270º to 330º Battle ship mode for 2 player/user collaboration. 
    Presentations to small groups, where one side has the material full screen the other has presenter view, notes, timers etc. 
    But could see a number of way I'd use that mode. with 2 people being able to collaborate and still face each other.  

    Yes OS Is key iPadOS is missing some key features that are impediments to Pro level software needed. 
    Both UI but lower level UX like being able to (maybe even streamline) get plug-ins both commercial and user generated (mods) in to pro-apps without the need to go via the App Store review process. Sure have an in-app check that stops them exceeding the apps sandbox. 

    Current MacBook Pro is 15mm plus/including feet so yep 12 to 15mm would seem completely workable as device volume the market will stand
  • Reply 14 of 19
    MacBooks already fold. 

    Unless you mean folding the screen. In that case, no thank you. 

    Solution looking for a problem. 

    Just give me better screens, less bezel, more power, faster and more storage, fair prices, great build quality, solid keyboards with just the right travel, the latest ports, and the latest wireless protocols - enclosed in the best industrial design. 

    Let the other guys have the gimmicks
    edited December 2022
  • Reply 15 of 19
    dewmedewme Posts: 4,637member
    A visual rendering would be nice. I’m not seeing how the screen foldability would work on a MacBook other than some sort of Dutch door refrigerator type of thing. 

    I have zero doubt that Apple could deliver any sort of Rube Goldberg inspired device they wanted to build. You have to ponder why current designs are where they are and what is holding them back from evolving. All laptop and desktop machines are still using a UI paradigm and mechanism that reached commercial popularity in the 1870s, i.e., the typewriter keyboard.  Video displays are obviously much more contemporary and have been refined significantly since the Nixie tube, CRT, and teletype days. The evolution of display technology has always trended towards greater simplicity for the user, less mechanical complexity, and lower bulk and weight. Nobody wants to reverse that trend, so it’s a pretty big hurdle for Apple to overcome if they only focus on mechanical and material tricks. 

    Maybe Elon Musk is pointing us towards the future with his brain implant technology. Perhaps sometime soon we’ll be able to play Pong against chimps using the holographic displays projected from a credit card sized computer, using only our BrainX full self driving brain implants for control. I never thought that landing massive tube shaped rockets vertically made any sense, but it’s now a routine thing. 
  • Reply 16 of 19
    JP234JP234 Posts: 771member
    Know what you call a laptop computer that folds? A laptop computer.
    FileMakerFeller
  • Reply 17 of 19
    mattinozmattinoz Posts: 1,979member
    JP234 said:
    Know what you call a laptop computer that folds? A laptop computer.
    Only because the first companies to make them called them that. 
    Originally they were portables then someone made one light enough decided they wanted to promote that. 

    A another change with enough functional advantage will have the market force to change the name. 
    JP234
  • Reply 18 of 19
    JP234JP234 Posts: 771member
    I want a folding Mac Pro!
  • Reply 19 of 19
    JP234JP234 Posts: 771member
    dewme said:
    A visual rendering would be nice. I’m not seeing how the screen foldability would work on a MacBook other than some sort of Dutch door refrigerator type of thing. 

    I have zero doubt that Apple could deliver any sort of Rube Goldberg inspired device they wanted to build. You have to ponder why current designs are where they are and what is holding them back from evolving. All laptop and desktop machines are still using a UI paradigm and mechanism that reached commercial popularity in the 1870s, i.e., the typewriter keyboard.  Video displays are obviously much more contemporary and have been refined significantly since the Nixie tube, CRT, and teletype days. The evolution of display technology has always trended towards greater simplicity for the user, less mechanical complexity, and lower bulk and weight. Nobody wants to reverse that trend, so it’s a pretty big hurdle for Apple to overcome if they only focus on mechanical and material tricks. 

    Maybe Elon Musk is pointing us towards the future with his brain implant technology. Perhaps sometime soon we’ll be able to play Pong against chimps using the holographic displays projected from a credit card sized computer, using only our BrainX full self driving brain implants for control. I never thought that landing massive tube shaped rockets vertically made any sense, but it’s now a routine thing. 
    Maybe that's a future that appeals to you, but my brain is going to remain an Elon Musk-Free Zone. Explain why the idea of an insomniac lunatic having direct access to your temporal lobes isn't appalling to you.
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