Apple considers two large touchscreen sizes for MacBook [Updated]

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MacBook with 20-inch folding screen still on track for release
This concept could be an early glimpse of the MacBook of the future.
Concept: Astro HQ

Apple is developing a MacBook with a folding touchscreen that might come with either a 20.25-inch or an 18.8-inch panel, according to a trusted analyst. And new info from the analyst indicates the slightly smaller is more likely.

In addition to the size, it’ll have another immediately noticeable advantage over current foldable displays: eliminating the visible crease is reportedly one of Apple’s goals.

Two options for folding touchscreen MacBook

After decades of making laptops that improved on the groundbreaking PowerBook line in the early 1990s, Apple reportedly stands ready to shake things up with a new ultra-premium line. The company wants to toss out the laptop’s physical keyboard and trackpad in favor of an all-touchscreen design.

Early leaks about a 20.25-inch MacBook began popping up for more than two years. And on Thursday Ming-Chi Kuo, an analyst who follows Apple for TF International Securities, added a new wrinkle: a second size possibility.

“In addition to the 20.25” option, Apple is also considering using an 18.8″ panel instead,” said Kuo in a blog post. “The difference between these two sizes is their folded form factor, corresponding to the design of 14–15″ and 13–14″ laptops, respectively.”

The analyst says Apple is currently trying to decide which of these two size options is better. In a follow-up message, Kuo told Cult of Mac the smaller model is likely to get the nod from Apple.

“I think there will only be one size version, and 18.8 has a higher chance from current view,” Kuo said Sunday on X.

No screen crease allowed

Thursday’s leak makes it clear that Apple sees the obvious flaws in current foldable displays: the crease. And it won’t tolerate one.

“Apple aims to make the panel as crease-free as possible,” said Kuo.

All this advanced tech will certainly add to the price of the first folding MacBooks, when and if they arrive. The panel reportedly will cost $600 to $650, while the specialized hinge will run $200 to $250. As a result, Kuo warns that such an innovative device could prove very expensive. Total cost for the folding touchscreen MacBook might exceed $3,000, especially if Apple goes with the larger display panel.

Folding touchscreen MacBook in 2026 … maybe

The analyst says the foldable panel might go into production near the end of 2025. Assembly of the full computer could come in the first half of 2026. “This product is expected to use the M5 series processor,” said Kuo.

Apple supposedly expects to sell more than a million units in the first year. That’s a small percentage of total annual MacBook sales. But when Jeff Pu, an analyst with Haitong International Securities, talked about the 20-inch folding touchscreen MacBook earlier in May, he predicted it wouldn’t supplant the current macOS models with traditional clamshell designs in Apple’s product lineup. The foldable will be for the “ultra-high-end market” willing to pay even higher prices for a cutting-edge computer.

If these unconfirmed reports prove true, the result will be a dream come true for many people: a touchscreen Mac. That will require significant changes to macOS, as it’s currently designed to be controlled with a cursor and keyboard.

We originally published this article on May 23, 2024. We updated it with fresh information about the potential screen size for the touchscreen MacBook with a foldable screen.

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