MacBook with 20-inch folding screen sounds like a dream machine

MacBook with 20-inch folding screen sounds like a dream machine

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Astro HQ’s MacBook concept has a flexible touchscreen in place of the keyboard and trackpad.
A MacBook with a 20-inch screen might look a lot like this cool concept.
Photo: Astro HQ

Apple is reportedly working on a notebook with a display that dwarfs the 16-inch screen in the latest MacBook Pro. And the whole device won’t be gargantuan — because it’ll fold in half.

But don’t grab your credit card just yet. The product is supposedly still years away.

20-inch MacBook could hit the market

Ross Young from Display Supply Chain Consultants made a series of predictions in a blog post Monday about folding computers. The highlight for Mac users: “We are now showing Apple in our roadmap for foldable notebooks. We hear there is interest at the largest size yet,” which he put at around 20 inches.

Young said he sees a clamshell in which the entire interior is a screen. He says it would be “a notebook with a full-size keyboard when folded and for use as a monitor when not folded and used with an external keyboard.”

The screen could be 4K. Given the screen size and resolution, the device would have to be roughly 18 inches by 9.5 inches when completely unfolded. And about 9.0 inches by 9.5 inches when folded in half. For comparison, a 16-inch MacBook Pro is 12.3 inches 8.7 inches.

Just so there’s no confusion, the design would have the user typing with an onscreen keyboard. Young calls it “a true dual use product,” as it would be both laptop and a super-size tablet.

… but not for about 5 years

Lenovo released the ThinkPad X1 Fold folding laptop years ago, and Asus recently unveiled its own model. Intel is working on a foldable Windows notebook specification. But this is a class of devices that’s still mostly on the horizon.

So it’s not surprising that Apple apparently isn’t getting into the market for several years. “The time frame is likely later than 2025 though; it could be 2026 or 2027,” said Young.

Still, it’s potentially a big deal. “The fact that Apple has interest in a foldable notebook, even if it is five years away, is good news for the foldable space,” wrote the DSCC analyst. And that’s good news for people who’ve been hoping for a folding MacBook for a while.

No folding iPhone before 2025

The DSCC report covers more than MacBooks. Young reports being told by industry sources that Apple continues to show interest in making a folding iPhone. But not soon.

“We delayed our expectations for Apple entering the foldable smartphone market by two years to 2025 after discussions with our supply chain contacts,” Young said Monday. “The company does not appear to be in a hurry to enter the foldable smartphone market, and it may even take longer than that.”

The market for foldable devices is still gathering steam, and Apple doesn’t seem convinced it’s not a fad. Or perhaps it’s waiting for better flexible screens.

But when Apple decides to jump on the bandwagon for folding phones and notebooks,  the first word of it might well come from Ross Young. His predictions about upcoming Apple products have so far been 100% accurate, according to AppleTrack.