Report: Apple is Working on a New 20-inch Foldable Device

Posted on February 28, 2022 by Laurent Giret in Apple with 10 Comments

Apple is reportedly working on a new foldable device with a 20-inch screen that could combine the best of the iPad and the MacBook. The news came first from Ross Young, the CEO of Display Supply Chain Consultants who detailed Apple’s foldable plans in their latest Foldable/Rollable report.

Young described Apple’s new device as “A true dual use product, a notebook with a full-size keyboard when folded and for use as a monitor when not folded and used with an external keyboard. It may also allow for UHD/4K resolution or even higher at that size. The time frame is likely 2025 or later though.”

Yesterday, Bloomberg’s Mark Gurman followed up on Young’s report with more details about the possible form factors. “The company could go with a foldable 20-inch screen attached to a physical keyboard or just have one side of the display serving as a virtual keyboard. I’m told Apple has indeed been exploring a dual-screen, foldable MacBook/iPad hybrid that would take the second approach,” Gurman wrote.

As you may know, Apple has been notoriously reluctant to follow the 2-in-1 devices trend kickstarted by Microsoft and other PC manufacturers in the past decade. There are still no MacBook models with a touchscreen, and Tim Cook infamously mocked attempts to combine PCs and tablets as trying to “converge a toaster and a refrigerator.”

Lenovo made headlines last year with its first foldable PC, the ThinkPad Fold X1, but the $2500 device was pretty thick and shipped an OS (Windows 10) that wasn’t really optimized for this new form factor. Thanks to its unique ability to integrate hardware and software, Apple could possibly be in a better position to offer a foldable PC customers really want.

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Comments (10)

10 responses to “Report: Apple is Working on a New 20-inch Foldable Device”

  1. wp7mango

    ASUS also has the Zenbook Fold which is a 17" foldable tablet.

    • wright_is

      Acer tried this over a decade ago, with a dual-screen foldable laptop, running Windows 7.

      I still don't see the appeal, the main point of a laptop, over a tablet, is that you have a physical keyboard to allow you to type lots of text. Going with a virtual keyboard in a laptop gives you the worst of both worlds, the bigger, thicker, less portable design, combined with the negatives of a tablet, of not being suitable for entering lots of text.

      If you still have to carry a BT keyboard everywhere with you, as well as the foldable display, I don't see the benefit.

      A foldable tablet, fine. But a foldable "laptop" without a keyboard? No, thanks all the same.

      I'll be be glad to see what they have actually thought of here, when it comes time to present it to the public. The speculation, so far, leaves me cold.

  2. jchampeau

    I don't like virtual keyboards (on phones or anything else) because I don't like the sensation of typing on a hard surface. Still, I'm curious to see what Apple might come up with. Assuming Jony Ive was the driving force behind the poor design choices of the last decade or so (bad keyboards, missing ports and card slots, no 2-in-1s/Mac touchscreens, form-over-function mentality), perhaps his exit has opened the door to something really cool and innovative.

  3. Stabitha.Christie

    Tim Cook infamously mocked attempts to combine PCs and tablets as trying to ‘converge a toaster and a refrigerator.’”

    That’s inaccurate, Tim Cook was asked about and speaking specifically about Windows 8 when he made that comment. It was in the context of Merging iOS and MacOS not merging hardware form factors.

    People can certainly disagree if his comment was accurate with respect to Windows 8 but as I remember it the the OS kinda belly flopped.

    • Donte

      The three references I just looked up all say he was asked about merging tablets and macbooks.

      "He said Apple would never have the MacBook Air converge with the iPad into one device. It would need too many compromises."


  4. mattbg

    Personally, I found a 12.9" tablet to be too big for many uses when I had an iPad Pro of that size. I ended up selling it. I can't imagine what I would do with a 20" tablet, even if it folds for portability.

  5. huddie

    > "for use as a monitor when not folded and used with an external keyboard"

    'Monitor' not tablet ? 'External keyboard' ? This scenario might suggest that it will run MacOS with no touchscreen support.

  6. mike2thel73

    I despise 2-in-1's. No matter who tries it's always a compromise.

  7. jgraebner

    I'm not surprised that they are working on something like this. Despite Apple's usual hype about "inventing" everything they do, they are really hyper aware of the competition and I'm sure they have been keeping an eye on the Lenovo devices and are aware of what Microsoft was working on with the Neo.

    I am also reminded of how the iPad was under development before the iPhone and that, at some point, they realized that there was likely a much bigger market for a phone using those design concepts. I could easily see a similar thing happen here. Obviously, they have to be aware of what Samsung has been doing with foldables and the pretty sharp increase in sales for their most recent generation of devices. I'd bet on it that a foldable iPhone hits the market before a foldable tablet.

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