Samsung leaks that Apple is still working on an all-screen foldable MacBook Pro

Posted:
in Future Apple Hardware edited July 2023

Rumors have been swirling for a while that Apple is working on a large all-screen folding MacBook Pro, but the current state of the folding display technology may be the primary issue Apple is waiting to launch anything.

MacBook Pro
MacBook Pro



At the beginning of 2022, it was rumored Apple was developing a large foldable display, measuring upwards of 20 inches, that would use a touchscreen keyboard for input. At the time, it was expected this device would either be a MacBook or an iPad.

Before the end of that year, however, the best guess evolved into Apple working on a MacBook Pro with a foldable display, which would measure somewhere near 20.5 inches. The device was expected to launch as early as 2026 if all went according to plan.

At the beginning of 2023, the rumor mill offered up that Apple's plans to launch its first foldable MacBook Pro had been moved up, with the device now expected to arrive sometime in 2025. Apple is still rumored to launch an "iPhone Fold" after that.

As reported by The Elec, Samsung Display Managing Director Baek Seung-in spoke about foldable display reliability at this year's SID Review event in South Korea. In that report, Apple is said to still be working on a product with a foldable display, but current reliability issues may be giving the company pause.

The Samsung exec was at the event to talk primarily about reliability in foldable displays, which notoriously started pretty weak. And while the screens aren't as durable as the non-foldable alternatives on the market, they are certainly improving.

Slide showing reliability issues for foldable displays
Slide showing reliability issues for foldable displays



The report says Apple is working with both Samsung Display and LG Display in its efforts to build its first foldable product. It also adds that Apple is applying for patents that cover products with foldable displays and that the industry is waiting for Apple to jump on the bandwagon so adoption can increase.

Apple is more than likely waiting for foldable display reliability to improve before it launches a product in the category.

Unfortunately, the supply chain can't quite nail down when Apple is going to launch one of these foldable devices. The wait may continue for a few years at least.

Six years ago, Apple was granted a patent for a "dual display" device that looks like of a MacBook with a unique hinge installed. In that research, the lower portion of the device automatically transitioned into a digital all-screen keyboard when text input is required.

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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 21
    9secondkox29secondkox2 Posts: 2,904member
    Very irresponsible partner. 

    Apple should finish rolling out their own display setup. Get rid of these jokers. 
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 2 of 21
    puiz666puiz666 Posts: 22unconfirmed, member
    Yeah, please ruin the one Apple platform where typing is not a traumatic experience. 
    xyzzy-xxxWolflowh4y3smayfly
  • Reply 3 of 21
    mayflymayfly Posts: 385member
    This is a solution in search of a problem. Is there anyone who would rather type on a screen that a keyboard? Who asked for this? And who wants to pay extra for a real keyboard?
    xyzzy-xxxWolflowmac daddy zeewilliamlondon
  • Reply 4 of 21
    cg27cg27 Posts: 220member
    puiz666 said:
    Yeah, please ruin the one Apple platform where typing is not a traumatic experience. 
    LOL your post reminded me of the New Zealand director Taika Waititi’s Oscar acceptance speech where he literally called out Apple for the lousy Butterfly keyboard.  
    mac daddy zeemayfly
  • Reply 5 of 21
    geekmeegeekmee Posts: 634member
    And what problem does the foldable screen solve again?

    mac daddy zeemayflywilliamlondonwatto_cobra
  • Reply 6 of 21
    coolfactorcoolfactor Posts: 2,293member

    Aim for where the puck is going to be. This has always worked for Apple, but it's hard to see how it can work for them with foldable and A.I. tech when the market is already seeing impressive offerings in these categories.

    mayfly9secondkox2
  • Reply 7 of 21
    dave2012dave2012 Posts: 58member
    geekmee said:
    And what problem does the foldable screen solve again?

    My only reason for needing more screen space is to display two separate windows, a hinged screen might be a better option because it could aid the docking of the two windows.
    mayflywatto_cobra
  • Reply 8 of 21
    radarthekatradarthekat Posts: 3,875moderator
    geekmee said:
    And what problem does the foldable screen solve again?

    Keyboard mapping for any language.  Apple wouldn't have to make unique hardware keyboards for different markets.
    watto_cobraAlex_V
  • Reply 9 of 21
    radarthekatradarthekat Posts: 3,875moderator
    First, why would Apple need a folding display?  Better to use two separate screens; it's not like they need to unfold to flat; there's always going to be an angle with one plane being the display and the other the keyboard. Separate displays would also allow Apple to use different display technologies for each portion of the laptop.  The highest resolution, highest nits display for the actual screen and then something that incorporates haptic feedback for the keyboard.  
    h4y3smayflywatto_cobra
  • Reply 10 of 21
    First, why would Apple need a folding display?  Better to use two separate screens; it's not like they need to unfold to flat; there's always going to be an angle with one plane being the display and the other the keyboard. Separate displays would also allow Apple to use different display technologies for each portion of the laptop.  The highest resolution, highest nits display for the actual screen and then something that incorporates haptic feedback for the keyboard.  

    This!
    h4y3swatto_cobra
  • Reply 11 of 21
    geekmee said:
    And what problem does the foldable screen solve again?

    Keyboard mapping for any language.  Apple wouldn't have to make unique hardware keyboards for different markets.

    Certainly, but Mapple has become immense by solving user problems, not so much its own. (Although that is also needed, of course.)

    I’m waiting for the iPhone Wad, the phone that crumples into a ball to fit the bottom of my pocket. Never again will it slip from shallow pockets! Let’s move it, Old Man Cook, you’re behind on crumpleable phones. 
    williamlondonwatto_cobraAppleZuluradarthekatdocbburk
  • Reply 12 of 21
    geekmee said:
    And what problem does the foldable screen solve again?

    Keyboard mapping for any language.  Apple wouldn't have to make unique hardware keyboards for different markets.
    Easy, just make each individual key a screen.  Still have a physical key that can actuate, and have the dynamic nature of a display to change languages, show functions/hot keys depending on the focused program, etc. There have already been keyboards like this for over a decade.
    watto_cobraradarthekat
  • Reply 13 of 21
    mayflymayfly Posts: 385member
    geekmee said:
    And what problem does the foldable screen solve again?

    Keyboard mapping for any language.  Apple wouldn't have to make unique hardware keyboards for different markets.
    That may be of benefit to Apple, not so much to the enduser.
    king editor the gratewatto_cobrawilliamlondon
  • Reply 14 of 21
    9secondkox29secondkox2 Posts: 2,904member
    geekmee said:
    And what problem does the foldable screen solve again?

    Keyboard mapping for any language.  Apple wouldn't have to make unique hardware keyboards for different markets.
    Easy, just make each individual key a screen.  Still have a physical key that can actuate, and have the dynamic nature of a display to change languages, show functions/hot keys depending on the focused program, etc. There have already been keyboards like this for over a decade.
    Like the Optimus keyboard? I don’t think that would be practical or cost effective. It would be an aesthetic nightmare as well. Apple is about simplifying the complex, not complicating the simple. 

    Besides. If Apple couldn’t even get the butterfly keyboard right…

    kidding! Just kidding. 

    Sheesh. Calm down people. 
    watto_cobraexceptionhandlerradarthekat
  • Reply 15 of 21
    9secondkox29secondkox2 Posts: 2,904member
    geekmee said:
    And what problem does the foldable screen solve again?

    Keyboard mapping for any language.  Apple wouldn't have to make unique hardware keyboards for different markets.

    Certainly, but Mapple has become immense by solving user problems, not so much its own. (Although that is also needed, of course.)

    I’m waiting for the iPhone Wad, the phone that crumples into a ball to fit the bottom of my pocket. Never again will it slip from shallow pockets! Let’s move it, Old Man Cook, you’re behind on crumpleable phones. 
    Yeah! And give us a wastebasket charger to go with it, Apple geezers! I’m tired of plugging my phone in or setting it on a charge pad. Sometimes I just want to crumple it up and therapeutically chuck it into a receptacle instead. Get with it, Timmy boy! How is this not a thing yet… sheesh. 
    watto_cobraking editor the grate
  • Reply 16 of 21
    wdowellwdowell Posts: 232member

    “Samsung leaks that Apple is still working on an all-screen foldable MacBook Pro”



    Sorry but where does Samsung leak anything about Apple? A report mentions Apple, not the Samsung executive 
    watto_cobraAlex_V
  • Reply 17 of 21
    danoxdanox Posts: 3,098member
    The sound of desperation on Samsung’s part……
    watto_cobra9secondkox2
  • Reply 18 of 21
    geekmee said:
    And what problem does the foldable screen solve again?

    Keyboard mapping for any language.  Apple wouldn't have to make unique hardware keyboards for different markets.
    Easy, just make each individual key a screen.  Still have a physical key that can actuate, and have the dynamic nature of a display to change languages, show functions/hot keys depending on the focused program, etc. There have already been keyboards like this for over a decade.
    Like the Optimus keyboard? I don’t think that would be practical or cost effective. It would be an aesthetic nightmare as well. Apple is about simplifying the complex, not complicating the simple. 

    Besides. If Apple couldn’t even get the butterfly keyboard right…

    kidding! Just kidding. 

    Sheesh. Calm down people. 
    Lol no kidding needed.  Disliked that keyboard very much.  Not enough key travel, not to mention the key failures and repair cost.  I’ve gone mechanical and it’s been hard to go back to anything else.  As far as laptop keyboards go, their current design isn’t bad, but going to a completely flat, single pane of glass (even with haptic feedback) would be a step back for a laptop.

    I had not considered repair costs of a keyboard with screens on each key.  I bet that would be way more than the price to repair the butterfly keyboard.
    williamlondonradarthekat
  • Reply 19 of 21
    charlesncharlesn Posts: 941member
    wdowell said:

    “Samsung leaks that Apple is still working on an all-screen foldable MacBook Pro”



    Sorry but where does Samsung leak anything about Apple? A report mentions Apple, not the Samsung executive 
    EXACTLY. The clickbait headline is 100% all-in on Samsung leaking this info... the text of the article, not so much. It's all weasel wording. There's "a report" that appeared in The Elec, part of which included an interview a Samsung exec who spoke about foldable display reliability, but then the article conflates "the report" and the interview, as if one and the same, but they're not. There is nothing attributed directly to the Samsung exec in terms of remarks about "Apple still working on an all-screen foldable Macbook Pro." NOT a single syllable quoted or even a summary of remarks from him in which Apple is mentioned. And "the report" just rehashes the same "Apple is working on a foldable display" rumors that have been floating around for years--for iPhones, iPads, Macbooks... there's no "news" here, just the same old rumors. 

    To point out the obvious: Samsung leaking this info would open it up to a very costly lawsuit from the famously litigious Apple since Samsung would be in flagrant violation of the NDA that undoubtedly exists (and in multiples, I'm sure) between Apple and Samsung. With that in mind, I wouldn't be surprised if Samsung sent AppleInsider a cease and desist on this headline. 
    edited July 2023
  • Reply 20 of 21
    jellybellyjellybelly Posts: 128member
    charlesn said:
    wdowell said:

    “Samsung leaks that Apple is still working on an all-screen foldable MacBook Pro”



    Sorry but where does Samsung leak anything about Apple? A report mentions Apple, not the Samsung executive 
    EXACTLY. The clickbait headline is 100% all-in on Samsung leaking this info... the text of the article, not so much. It's all weasel wording. There's "a report" that appeared in The Elec, part of which included an interview a Samsung exec who spoke about foldable display reliability, but then the article conflates "the report" and the interview, as if one and the same, but they're not. There is nothing attributed directly to the Samsung exec in terms of remarks about "Apple still working on an all-screen foldable Macbook Pro." NOT a single syllable quoted or even a summary of remarks from him in which Apple is mentioned. And "the report" just rehashes the same "Apple is working on a foldable display" rumors that have been floating around for years--for iPhones, iPads, Macbooks... there's no "news" here, just the same old rumors. 

    To point out the obvious: Samsung leaking this info would open it up to a very costly lawsuit from the famously litigious Apple since Samsung would be in flagrant violation of the NDA that undoubtedly exists (and in multiples, I'm sure) between Apple and Samsung. With that in mind, I wouldn't be surprised if Samsung sent AppleInsider a cease and desist on this headline. 
    At the bottom of this comment is the translation of the article where Apple is mentioned in a way that infers from public patent filings and general knowledge in the display industry. It also says LG is also working on the Apple challenge.  

    At first I had the same thought about Non-Disclosure Agreement (NDA) violation. After reading the article, I now see that the executive, Baek, was discussing the continuing advancements to solve existing problems.  I don’t think the executive revealed any secret information. Patents are public and so is the knowledge that both Samsung Display, Inc. and LG produce displays for Apple and to Apple specifications including Apple IP. 
    It was the publication “THE LEC” that mentioned a 20” display for Apple, not Samsung’s Baek. And it was “THE LEC” publication that mentioned Apple in a later paragraph ( the other text I italicized)

    It’s widely known in the industry that many laptop producers are planning and researching for the day they can have foldable displays.  The article doesn’t show that the executive said anything specifically mentioning a MacBook Pro. But if he’s discussing in a general way the demand for foldable laptop displays, citing Apple’s quest for quality, the rest is an easy prediction by AppleInsider that the MBP will the laptop to get a foldable display. AppleInsider also mentions it in the context of previous rumors. 

    I would agree that calling it a leak by ‘Samsung D’ Director Baek or Samsung is incorrect. The only specific info is the mention of “20 inches” is by THE LEC publisher/ author. A headline like “THE LEC publication discusses foldable displays for laptop industry including Apple” would be accurate but too long and might not get read. But if this is the article AppleInsider is solely using, a correction is needed.  If another source was used, then it should be cited specifically or mentioned as anonymous if that is the case. 

    (In the translation below, I italicized the first mention of Apple and a 20” display by “THE LEC” and again on the paragraph where “THE LEC” talks about Apple’s importance industry-wide.

    Publication:        THE LEC   (article about folding displays and Baek’s discussion in the The SID Review)

    Translation: 

    The foldable ecosystem is getting wider...  Samsung D "Global company interest in foldable IT products↑"

    Samsung D Managing Director Baek Seung-in presented in the 'SID Review' book of the Korea Information Display Society "The industry is interested in 25-inch foldable products, 13-inch foldable products" "We are improving device characteristics, etc. so that foldable wrinkles are not noticeable" Samsung Electronics' new foldable phone to be released next week will also notice changes.

    It has been claimed that the world's leading IT companies are showing interest in foldable IT products. Apple is currently working on a 20-inch foldable IT product project with Samsung Display, LG Display, etc.

    At the 'SID Review' event of the Korea Information Display Society held in Yeoksam, Seoul on the 19th, Samsung Display Managing Director Baek Seung-in presented △Folding Crack △Crease △Pen Drop △Folding Torque △Compressive Stress (Buckling) as a matter of reliability of the foldable display.

    Among the foldable display reliability issues, wrinkles have been mentioned as an improvement task since Samsung Electronics' first-generation foldable phones in 2019. “I've been working on it for years (to improve foldable phone wrinkles), but it hasn't completely disappeared,” Baek said, explaining that “I'm working on a variety of structures to keep this (wrinkle) out of the consumer eye.”

    “This new version (the new Samsung Electronics foldable phone) looks slightly different from the previous one,” he said. The Samsung Electronics foldable phone panel is produced by Samsung Display.

    In this regard, Apple is working on a foldable project with Samsung Display, LG Display, etc. Apple itself is continuing to file (apply) for foldable patents. The industry cites Apple's entry as a requirement to expand the market for foldable products. In order to do that, the industry's challenge is that the internal screen wrinkles of foldable products must be improved to the extent that Apple can be satisfied. 

    Industry interest in foldable IT products is also continuing. "In the Samsung camp, foldable is becoming a new form factor product, which is becoming quite successful," said Sangmu Baek. "The next area of interest in foldable is IT products." “Currently, laptops consist of a screen at the top and a hardware and keyboard at the bottom, but a lot of companies are interested in displaying the entire (laptop), and they're very interested in products that are about 25 inches wide and 13 inches (foldable) when folded," he explained.

    In the process of developing foldable products, it is also a consideration that consumers prefer glass materials as mobile product cover windows. “From the first time (consumers) encountered mobile displays, there's always glass at the top of the product,” Baek said, explaining that “consumers feel a little uncomfortable unless it's an empirically familiar glass feel.”

    Samsung Electronics' foldable phones used transparent polyimide (PI) film made of plastic as a cover window in the first-generation products in 2019, but since the second-generation model in 2020, it has been replaced with ultra-singlass (UTG), a glass material. Since then, Chinese smartphone companies have also favored UTG with foldable phone cover windows, while UTG has overwhelmed transparent PI film in the foldable phone cover window market. However, in IT products with large screens, there is a prospect that there will be an opportunity for transparent PI film because UTG has problems such as price and durability according to the production yield. Transparent PI film is a weakness in visibility.

    “The stack structure is becoming more complex to maintain a sense of touch,” said Sang Sang-S. Baek, adding that “there are many trade-off relationships between the characteristics of the foldable display, so it's important to find the right point.”

    The SID review, which was held in Yeoksam, Seoul, hosted by the Korea Information Display Society on the 19th, was attended by about 150 people, including Senior Vice President Kim Hyun-jae (Professor of Yonsei University) and CEO Seok Jun-hyung.

    edited July 2023
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