Nobody wants a foldable iPad, Apple

iPad Air 5 using split screen in portrait orientation
(Image credit: Future)

Samsung seems to think that Apple wants to make a foldable iPad rather than a foldable iPhone, with the former expected to arrive in 2024. With Samsung and other phone makers already making devices that bend in the middle, they've all gone for phones. So why would Apple go the tablet route instead?

More importantly, who wants a foldable iPad and what benefits would it offer people?

Big iPad turned small

If Apple does want to go the foldable iPad route, I can only imagine that the idea would be to take a large iPad — like the rumored 16-inch iPad — and turn it into something a little smaller. Much smaller, actually. But how thick would that wind up being and why bother in the first place?

A 16-inch iPad, or something around that size, would be a specialized device. Most people don't need an iPad that size, or even want one for that matter. At that screen size such a tablet would be best suited to living on a desk, like a laptop. If that's the case, why have it turn into something smaller beyond portability benefits?

There's another wrinkle here, too. Rumors of an even larger 20-inch foldable device have been banging around for months — could that be some sort of MacBook with a touchscreen keyboard that folds to become a tablet? Who knows, but it's possible either of these two machines could be the ones that Samsung is talking about when it says a foldable iPhone will likely come after something else.

Either way, color me disappointed. The idea of something the size of an iPhone 14 Pro Max that expands into a device like an iPad mini is definitely something I can get behind. It's what Samsung already offers with its own foldable, after all. It would be the best of both worlds — the best iPhone and the best iPad — in a single device, just waiting to be used in different ways depending on what's called for at the time.

What would a foldable iPad be? An iPad that gets bigger or smaller to become a different-sized iPad? A foldable MacBook makes more sense, I'll grant Apple that. But not as much sense as a foldable iPhone.

Apple iPhone 14

(Image credit: iMore)

Ultimately, it sounds like we're still a couple of years away from either of these foldable devices coming to market. And that's assuming Samsung's sources are on the money with their guesses.

However, analysts have already been making noises foldable devices, as has Bloomberg's Mark Gurman. They can't all be wrong, can they? Apple has to enter the foldable fray eventually, right? It's only a matter of time and, apparently, form factor.

The idea of Apple launching a foldable iPad would also go against its usual modus operandi, too. It wasn't the first to make a smartphone, nor was it the first to put a computer on our wrists. It wasn't the first to launch a tablet, either. Could it be the first to make a foldable tablet? Maybe, but it seems more likely that it's been working on perfecting a foldable phone, instead. Watching, learning, and ultimately making sure it doesn't suffer from the teething troubles early foldable phones had to deal with.

The only real question is this — which will come first, a foldable iPhone or that Apple Car? It sounds like we're finally going to get the fabled AR/VR headset in 2023, so that's one mythical product done and dusted, at least.

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.