Could Apple be planning a folding MacBook Pro along the lines of the Asus Zenbook 17 Fold OLED pictured above? A new report says it is, and that Apple's first folding product won’t be a folding iPhone: it’ll be a Mac laptop.
If you’re thinking that a folding MacBook is hardly news because they all fold, this Mac thinks different: the folding bit is the display, not the laptop lid. It would be more like an enormous folding iPad: unfolded, it would be a huge tablet display; fold it a bit and the lower section becomes your keyboard and trackpad.
We know a folding-screen laptop is possible, because Asus and Lenovo have made them. But the question of whether Apple will do it keeps coming up, and I’m starting to feel it’s a bit like jetpacks and flying cars: every so often a new report says they’re five years away but they never quite arrive. With the folding Apple device it’s usually a promise of three years, and we’ve been hearing that for about six years already; for example, Apple patented a folding dual-screen device back in 2021.
So what’s this new report saying?
Apple knows when to hold 'em, knows when to fold 'em
The new report comes from Business Korea, quoting sources within the display industry who claim that Apple is “in talks with display suppliers to launch a foldable MacBook model.” Those talks apparently have a launch date of 2025 in mind with a ship date of early 2026.
The report does fit with multiple rumours that Apple is more focused on a folding iPad than a folding iPhone. But there are even more issues with folding-display laptops than there are with folding phones: they’re heavier because they need to incorporate a much bigger display; they tend to have fairly mediocre innards because the displays already push the cost into orbit; that extra display sucks battery life; and typing on glass still isn’t a lot of fun compared to a physical keyboard.
All of these things can be addressed, of course. And if anyone has the resources to address them it’s Apple. But I’ve been writing about Apple hardware since the 1990s and I’ve seen hundreds of rumours predicting gee-whiz Apple products that never left the labs because they were too complex, too costly or just got superseded by something better. So while I’m sure Apple is indeed talking to display suppliers about folding displays and is folding the hell out of things in its R&D labs, I’m not convinced this is going to turn into a shipping product any time soon.