Apple’s first foldable product rumored to be an iPad or Mac, not an iPhone

This flexible touchscreen Mac laptop concept is courtesy of Astro HQ.

According to Digitimes (a subscription is required to read the article), Apple’s first foldable product may be an iPhone or an iPad instead of an iPhone.

“Apple has been developing foldables for the past five years, and its first foldable product will not be a smartphone. It will instead be a larger device,” the article says. “…. “The company has already been developing a larger, non-phone foldable device for at least five years, and recent rumors note that design efforts are converging, a sign that mass production is near”. 

DigiTimes says a larger foldable iPad or MacBook could launch as early as 2025, though this may be pushed back to 2026.

These aren’t the first reports of a foldable iPad or MacBook. There have been numerous rumors about a foldable iPad. As far back as January 2023, a series of tweets by the usually-accurate analyst Ming-Chi Kuo says Apple will release a foldable iPad with a carbon fiber kickstand in 2024. He said a carbon fiber kickstand will enable it to be lighter and more durable. Kuo thinks a foldable iPad will boost shipments and improve the product mix. 

There are have numerous reports and patent filings by Apple to hint at foldable iPads. An April 2022 article by The Elec claimed that Apple is working with LG to develop a foldable OLED display panel with “ultra-thin” cover glass for future iPads and Mac laptops.

This mock-up of a foldable iPad is courtesy of in.mashable.com.

Also, Apple has filed for, and/or been granted, several patents for foldable devices over the years. One is for a “foldable cover and display for an electronic device” configured to be moved between a folded configuration and an unfolded configuration by bending the cover layer along the foldable region. Others granted patents are for “folding devices with geared hinges.”

As for a foldable Mac, a July 2023 report from Business Korea says that Apple is working on a foldable Mac laptop that it will preview in 2025 and have for sale in 2026.

The report says a foldable laptop could form a new product category. If it arrives, it could be a dual-use product: able to work as a notebook with a full-size on-screen keyboard when folded and as a monitor when unfolded and used with an external keyboard. The foldable could also allow for 4K resolutions or higher at the size Apple is investigating.

This isn’t the first rumor of a foldable MacBook. In February 2022 in a Display Supply Chain Consultants (DSCC) report analyst Ross Young said Apple was considering a 20-inch foldable MacBook. He added that it and a foldable iPhone won’t arrive until 2025 — if not later.

As wild as the idea sounds, Apple has filed for multiple patents that hint at foldable Macs, iPhones, and iPads. Included among them are patent filing 10,579,105 and patent filing number 20190163233.

Dennis Sellers
the authorDennis Sellers
Dennis Sellers is the editor/publisher of Apple World Today. He’s been an “Apple journalist” since 1995 (starting with the first big Apple news site, MacCentral). He loves to read, run, play sports, and watch movies.