The first foldable MacBook may not be as big as we first thought

An AI generated image of a MacBook foldable laptop concept
(Image credit: DALL-E 3 AI generated image)

The question of Apple's first foldable device is a question of when rather than if. The likes of the OnePlus Open and Galaxy Z Fold 5 show foldable phones are mainstream while laptops like the HP Spectre Fold are expensive, but intriguing. So where does Apple fit in?

You can be sure R&D engineers are buried deep in Cupertino experimenting with foldable prototypes and rumors suggest we'll see the company's first products appearing in the next couple of years. Whether a foldable "iPhone Flip" or a bendable MacBook arrive first remains to be seen.

This week display expert Ross Young posted on X to his paying subscribers, (via MacRumors) that Apple's foldable MacBook will arrive with an 18.76-inch display, contradicting the earlier speculation it would be fitted with a 20.25-inch display. Young says this is for "cost reasons" and that the machine won't debut until 2026.

Earlier talk on the foldable MacBook from Apple analyst Ming-Chi Kuo claimed it would be the same size as 13-inch or 14-inch MacBook when folded and would boast a virtual keyboard. Additional rumors claim it'll be powered by Apple's as-yet-unannounced M5 chip and — surprise, surprise — be very expensive. Kuo suggests it could land somewhere in the region of the £3,499 asking price for the Apple Vision Pro

Interestingly, Kuo seems to think the MacBook will enter mass production in 2027. Were that the case, we may not see it until that year or even 2028. Kuo also adds that Apple is working to make the foldable screen as "crease-free as possible" and it seems likely this would be the pathfinder product for any future foldable iPhone or iPad.

And it also bears pointing out there's plenty that Apple could do with the MacBook lineup before bending it in half. We still don't have a MacBook with an OLED display or a model with any form of touchscreen. So, as ever, I'd suggest taking these rumors with a pinch of salt. Lemon and tequila optional. 

Meanwhile, if you want to see what Apple has been doing with screen and performance improvements, check out our review of the latest iPad Pro and see what happens when you try to use it as a laptop for a week.

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Jeff Parsons
UK Editor In Chief

Jeff is UK Editor-in-Chief for Tom’s Guide looking after the day-to-day output of the site’s British contingent. Rising early and heading straight for the coffee machine, Jeff loves nothing more than dialling into the zeitgeist of the day’s tech news.

A tech journalist for over a decade, he’s travelled the world testing any gadget he can get his hands on. Jeff has a keen interest in fitness and wearables as well as the latest tablets and laptops. A lapsed gamer, he fondly remembers the days when problems were solved by taking out the cartridge and blowing away the dust.