Apple’s making a folding laptop: Is the curse about to be broken?
And if there’s anything that gets me extra excited, it’s the thought of how our current, already-amazing devices could suddenly evolve or become obsolete due to an unexpected trend shift – thanks to something even better coming out. One big move by just a single company can do wonders.
Just look at the 2019 Galaxy Fold – what an exciting device that was! And by consistently releasing new and better Folds year over year, Samsung made foldable phones mainstream, basically on its own.
And although the first Fold had a rocky start, the current Galaxy Z Fold 3 is an almost perfect blend of a smartphone and a tablet. Two devices in one! Which is (at least in theory) a more convenient option than having to switch between two different devices all the time.
But hey, you’re probably wondering what’s up with that title – “Apple’s making a folding laptop: Is the curse about to be broken?”
Well, as we mentioned, the Galaxy Z Fold 3 is both a tablet and a smartphone in one. My current tablet is a Microsoft Surface Go 2, which is a Windows PC and a tablet in one. And I used to own full-blown 2-in-1 laptops with touchscreens, which can double as tablets.
All of those devices serve an extra purpose that you’d normally have to buy and use a separate device for – and for the right type of person – they can be extremely useful and convenient.
What I call an Apple curse stems from the fact that the company has been stubborn about releasing such 2-in-1 devices. Apple’s philosophy has always been – you need to buy different Apple products to get the full Apple experience.
MacBooks don’t come with a touch screen. iPads don’t come with desktop apps. iPhones don’t come with stylus support. At the very least, you need to buy a MacBook and an iPad if you want desktop apps, but also a touch screen and stylus support. Apple has been very careful to avoid disrupting sales for each individual Apple device, by keeping them completely separate, never mixing all of their key features into one single product.
I assume that’s why the iPad still hasn’t gotten desktop apps or MacOS – because that might dip into MacBook Air sales. It makes sense from a business perspective, but it’s not cool if you’re an iPad user who wants to utilize the tablet’s full potential and use it for everything, instead of being forced to also buy a separate MacBook.
In any case, both the MacBook Air and the iPad Pro run the same architecture now, same processors, and it’s not hard to imagine Apple finally combining the two into one super-device. If only that Apple curse wasn’t a thing…
And, well, according to reputable, and often correct analyst Ross Young, as well as Bloomberg’s Mark Gurman – Apple is indeed working on a foldable iPad/MacBook hybrid with a 20-inch screen. So, the curse will be broken, then?
No longer will you have to buy several Apple devices for different scenarios, but just this one, for everything? Well, only if it’s a folding, touchscreen MacBook, but I’m thinking that’s unlikely.
Foldable iPad or foldable MacBook – what’s it going to be?
The 2020 Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Fold is the world’s first foldable PC. Will Apple’s device look like this?
That’s the big question, and one we can’t answer for sure just yet. If we look at existing all-screen foldable laptops, notably the Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Fold – they’re of course running a full desktop operating system – Windows. And by some accounts, what Apple is doing will resemble that particular Lenovo device, so can we expect a foldable MacBook, then?As I said, to me – that’s wishful thinking, because it would require for Apple to suddenly decide to do what it has always been stubbornly against – add touchscreen and stylus support to its desktop MacOS operating system. And MacOS isn’t designed with touch in mind either, so it’ll need some reworking.
So, with that in mind, and this is just my theory – I’m guessing what Apple might be preparing for us is a folding iPad instead, not a folding MacBook. A foldable tablet running the familiar iPadOS touch-friendly operating system, which already has stylus support and a huge number of great apps, designed with touch in mind.
When can we expect Apple’s foldable MacBook and iPhone, if ever?
Foldable iPhone concept by Ben Geskin
“If ever” is important to keep in mind, as by many accounts Apple is still analyzing the foldable market and remains uncertain that it is worth investing into.
Doing research and development for a foldable iPad is one thing, but mass producing the device, then releasing and marketing it is another, and even for a trillion dollar company – it’s an expensive endeavor. And Apple didn’t get to where it’s at by taking unnecessary investment risks.
However, say Apple pulls the trigger on that device. When is Apple’s folding iPad coming out, then? Well, the company’s foldable iPhone has been rumored to arrive anywhere between 2022 and 2025, and we can reasonably expect a folding iPad to match that release timeframe. Perhaps Apple will surprise us with a folding revolution of its own.
Apple has a March 8 event coming, but we only expect the new iPhone SE 3 and a new iPad Air to be announced during that one, nothing huge.
Or, who knows – will we see a surprise Apple AR glasses announcement as well? I have a faint hope, as unlikely as it is, that those will be unveiled very soon. But we’ll just have to wait and see.
Ultimately, Apple is working on a lot behind the scenes. It might not be breaking new grounds every year, but it’s quietly cooking “the next big thing” nonetheless. When the time is right, we’ll see what it is – whether augmented reality, or foldable iPads and iPhones, or all of the above. Stay excited – this year could be a big one!