Apple is reportedly pondering a massive 20-inch folding MacBook

Macbook Air M1
Macbook Air M1 (Image credit: Daniel Bader / Android Central)

What you need to know

  • Apple is said to be mulling the idea of a foldable device with a 20-inch screen.
  • A foldable notebook could expand to become a desktop machine similar to an iMac.

Apple is thought to be considering some from of foldable notebook that will open out to become a larger desk-based machine, according to a new report.

Writing as part of a larger report into the world of foldable smartphones, Ross Young of Display Supply Chain Consultants says that Apple might not be ready to get a foldable iPhone to market until 2025, but that doesn't mean it isn't already looking beyond that.

According to Young, Apple is considering some from of foldable notebook machine that would sport a 20-inch display, larger than anything that currently folds. That display would allow the new machine to act as a notebook computer with a built-in keyboard while also offering functionality as a desktop machine when unfolded, too.

However, don't expect that to come to market any time soon, says Young.

On the other hand, we are now showing Apple in our roadmap for foldable notebooks. We hear there is interest at the largest size yet, around 20.x". This size could create a new category for Apple and would result in a true dual use product, a notebook with a full-size keyboard when folded and for use as a monitor when not folded and used with an external keyboard. It may also allow for UHD/4K resolution or even higher at that size. The time frame is likely later than 2025 though, it could be 2026 or 2027.

If indeed Apple is working on such a device, it's a safe bet that it isn't alone. Given Apple's preference to be late to market but to fix issues earlier arrivals have to deal with, expect to see other companies jump to launch similar products between now and whenever Apple comes to the fore.

The idea of a MacBook Pro that expands to become an iMac is undoubtedly an intriguing one and it would surely become the best Mac for people who need both desktop and portable functionality — something that would normally require two machines.

Oliver Haslam

Oliver Haslam has written about Apple and the wider technology business for more than a decade with bylines on How-To Geek, PC Mag, iDownloadBlog, and many more. He has also been published in print for Macworld, including cover stories. At iMore, Oliver is involved in daily news coverage and, not being short of opinions, has been known to 'explain' those thoughts in more detail, too.

Having grown up using PCs and spending far too much money on graphics card and flashy RAM, Oliver switched to the Mac with a G5 iMac and hasn't looked back. Since then he's seen the growth of the smartphone world, backed by iPhone, and new product categories come and go. Current expertise includes iOS, macOS, streaming services, and pretty much anything that has a battery or plugs into a wall. Oliver also covers mobile gaming for iMore, with Apple Arcade a particular focus. He's been gaming since the Atari 2600 days and still struggles to comprehend the fact he can play console quality titles on his pocket computer.

  • Why doesn't someone just make a folding portable monitor? Currently available 15" ones are pretty darn thin. If you could stick two of these side by side, with decent resolution, you could pair it with a MacBook that has the power you need, or even a Mac Mini if you only need it to be transportable.
  • A more useful device would be a folding iPhone and iPad mini into one physical folding device, like the Galaxy Z Fold 3, Oppo Find N, Mate X, Xiaomi Mi Mix Fold, Microsoft Duo 2, or any upcoming foldable 2 in 1 type device, like the Pixel Fold. To me it would be more useful to have an iPhone and a iPad mini in one physical device. However Apple can't make those type of devices, because Apple has an app ecosystem problem. Apples app ecosystem is NOT CONDUCIVE towards 2 in 1 type foldables. The reason is Apple went out of their way to separate iPhone apps, and iPad apps. Apple went even further with that separation by creating separate iOS operating systems. One version for iPhone, and another version of iOS for iPads (iPadOS). Ultimately this means that you will NEVER see a foldable from Apple that is both an iPhone and a iPad in one physical folding device. A Folding Mac is far less useful, especially when you can buy a 16" Macbook pro. Plus I can just imagine the price of a folding Mac will be even more costly, and for what? An extra 4 more inches in the display department. Heres a better idea Apple, how about creating a touch screen Mac instead of a folding Macbook. That way users could actually use existing iOS apps as well on M1 Macbooks. That to me would make much more sense than a stupid folding Macbook. Unless Apple creates a folding Macbook that also includes a touch screen as well. Time will only tell. However by the time 2025 arrives, foldable smartphones will be in there 7th year. The world is expecting the Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 4 this year.