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What we know so far about Apple’s ‘all-screen’ foldable MacBook

The device will consist of a single large screen that can be folded in half

Update : 30 May 2024, 11:46 AM

Apple has a history of pushing the boundaries of technology and design, and its latest venture might be its most ambitious yet. The company is reportedly experimenting with various foldable devices, including a revolutionary new form of MacBook. 

While the traditional MacBook already folds, Apple's new concept envisions a MacBook with a full-display form factor, eschewing the standard keyboard entirely. Here's everything we know about this exciting development.

Design

The foldable MacBook that Apple is rumored to be working on will feature an all-display design. This means the device will consist of a single large screen that can be folded in half. When folded, it functions as a notebook; when fully opened, it can serve as a large monitor, especially when paired with an external keyboard.

There are two main design possibilities for this device. One is a full-display model without a physical keyboard, relying entirely on an on-screen keyboard and touch interface. Another possibility includes a foldable display with a physical keyboard attached, providing a taller vertical display when open and folding down into a compact package.

Advanced display technology

The foldable MacBook is expected to utilize advanced OLED display technology, developed in collaboration with LG Display. Unlike the polyimide material used in current foldable displays, Apple's version will feature an ultra-thin cover glass to improve durability and visual quality. The aim is to create a display that is as crease-free as possible, addressing one of the major drawbacks of existing foldable screens.

Additionally, Apple is exploring the use of electronic paper display (EPD) technology for its foldable devices. EPDs, especially color EPDs from companies like E Ink, offer significant energy efficiency benefits, which could extend battery life and enhance the usability of foldable devices.

Size and resolution

Current rumors indicate that Apple is developing an 18.8-inch OLED foldable display for this new MacBook. Given Apple's penchant for high-resolution screens, it is likely that this foldable notebook will feature a 4K resolution or higher. This would ensure crisp, clear visuals for everything from text to high-definition video.

Digital keyboard innovation

One of the most significant changes in the foldable MacBook would be the absence of a physical keyboard. Instead, the device is expected to feature an on-screen keyboard with digital keys. To replicate the tactile feedback of a physical keyboard, Apple might employ haptic feedback technology. This is similar to the technology used in the MacBook Air and MacBook Pro trackpads, which simulate a click sensation without any actual movement.

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The M-Series chip

The foldable MacBook is likely to be equipped with Apple's next-generation M5 chip. This would ensure that the device not only leverages the latest in processing power but also integrates seamlessly with Apple's ecosystem of hardware and software, providing robust performance for a range of applications.

Anticipated release date

The timeline for the release of Apple's foldable MacBook is still somewhat fluid. Display analyst Ross Young has projected that Apple could bring a foldable notebook to market by 2026 or 2027. However, more recent reports from international analysts like Ming-Chi Kuo and Jeff Pu suggest a potential launch as early as late 2025. Whether this device will be categorized strictly as a MacBook, an iPad, or a new hybrid category remains to be seen.

Apple's experimentation with foldable technology signals a bold leap into the future of computing. An all-display foldable MacBook could redefine how we think about and use laptops, blending the portability and flexibility of modern tablets with the power and functionality of traditional notebooks.

As we await more details and official announcements, one thing is clear: Apple's foray into foldable devices promises to push the boundaries of innovation, setting new standards for design and functionality in the tech industry. The future of foldable technology looks bright, and Apple's potential contributions could make it even more exciting.

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