Apple patents folding dual-screen device: is a foldable iPad on the way?

Apple patent shows dual-screened foldable. Could the iPad mimic the MIA Surface Neo?

Apple iPad
(Image credit: Future)

Apple has long been rumoured to be working on a folding iPhone to take on the likes of the Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 3 in the best foldable phones war, but a freshly uncovered patent suggests that the company’s first foldable could be iPad branded.

As spotted by Patently Apple, the patent suggests Apple is looking at the dual-screen approach, rather than having a single one. The two screens appear to sit within a bendable case with its own internal hinge system, supported by magnets to hold the device in various orientations.

Patent for a possible dual-screen iPad

(Image credit: Patently Apple)

When unfolded, the screens sit side by side, creating one large panel or potentially allowing a laptop-style experience with one screen propped up. When folded, the two screens seem to sit flush with each other, making the device pocketable. 

While the listing doesn’t specify the size of the device imagined, it certainly makes more sense as an iPad rather than an iPhone. Of course, Microsoft has considered a similar two-screen form factor: both for phones with the Surface Duo series and a tablet with the missing-in-action Surface Neo.

The latter, introduced in the stunning trailer above, was originally intended for a “Holiday 2020” release, but it’s all gone quiet. The omens don’t look good with Microsoft formally cancelling the Windows 10X dual-screen software that the Neo would use and removing the device from the official site.

Windows Central’s sources believe there are now “no plans to release Surface Neo,” although nobody told the makers of the movie Red Notice, which awkwardly still features product placement of the possible vapourware (filming began in January 2020 when the device was still expected to be on the shelves by Christmas). 

If there’s demand for such a two-screen device — and assuming the Surface team didn’t discover something tricky about the form factor that Apple doesn’t yet know — then perhaps a two-screen iPad could steal Microsoft’s thunder. Assuming, that is, this patent is ever realised in a commercially available product.