Apple is known for doing things differently and also very late. Instead of making a foldable phone, there were strong rumors that they would make a foldable tablet (iPad) instead. The iPad lineup is perfect for experiments at the moment.
iPhones are made for mass adoption and usually sell hundreds of millions of units. If they run into technical difficulties with a foldable iPhone, that’s risky since it’s negative press for the company, so they probably want to experiment with the iPad first. iPads sell a lot but aren’t as popular as iPhones and have a lower market share.
According to new reports, Apple is planning to launch a foldable MacBook too, which is 20 inches in size when unfolded. Foldable laptops are much harder to make than Foldable phones, but it does not seem likely to see a foldable iPhone from Apple any time soon. It makes much more sense to start with an iPad rather than a laptop.
When folded, the MacBook is supposed to have a 15.3-inch screen size. It might even have a touchscreen keyboard. This product is obviously in very early development stages and might still be in the testing process. Popular South Korean publication The Elec reports that Apple will replace the iPad Mini lineup with a foldable iPad.
The 10-inch foldable iPad is expected to ship with a flexible OLED panel. The rest of the specs are unclear. The SoC used at the time of release, which is years away, will likely be the flagship iPad SOC.
The report mentions that Apple won’t put foldable tech into iPads until they use OLED panels. The highest-end iPad you can get right now has a MiniLED Panel, which is excellent at the moment, but OLED will make things even better. So, we have to wait a few years before these Apple foldables are offered for sale in stores.
Currently, only the Apple Watch and iPhone ship with OLED panels. Earlier, we saw reports of a new 14-inch iPad getting a Hybrid OLED panel. While that was supposed to launch in 2023 initially, it has been pushed to 2024. 11-inch and 12.9-inch iPad models will mostly get OLED panels in the coming years too. BOE, LG, and Samsung will probably supply them.
Moving to the MacBook lineup, the higher-end Pro models currently have MiniLED screens. While it was assumed that an OLED MacBook would arrive in 2025, it appears to have been pushed to 2026. The 10-inch foldable iPad will mostly released in 2025, and the 20-inch MacBook Pro with a touch keyboard might launch in 2027.
The replacement of the existing iPad Mini (8.3-inch) with a foldable iPad is a confusing decision, though, since the iPad Mini is geared to an audience that spends under 500$. A foldable one will be priced well over a thousand dollars, and this shift in the target user base for the Mini might not be received well.
Apple’s implementation of a touch keyboard will be interesting since they already have excellent haptics. The iPhone 15 series is slated to arrive with virtual buttons enabled with solid haptic feedback. An entire keyboard that’s powered by haptics is unique.