Apple reportedly working on a 20-inch foldable MacBook — with Samsung

Foldable MacBook concept
(Image credit: adrstudiodesign)

Samsung is reportedly working with LG Display to create a foldable display for an Apple 20-inch tablet and a form of MacBook hybrid device. 

According to our sibling site Laptop Mag, Patently Apple and SamMobile, a Samsung executive speaking at the SID Review Workshop in Seoul confirmed Samsung Display is working on creating foldable display tech for Apple. Now I wasn't at that event and having done some digging, I can’t find any official Samsung confirmation of this. 

However, Samsung does make a lot of displays for Apple, and the Cupertino company has filed patents for foldable screens on MacBook-like devices. Added to that the Samsung exec reportedly said that it’s a “necessary condition” for Apple to make a foldable device for the foldables market to succeed. 

Taking that into account and previous rumors that Apple is working on foldable devices, from a large folding tablet and MacBooks with folding screens to the so-called iPhone Flip, it would seem there’s fire behind this rumor smoke. 

Does that mean you could soon have a foldable iPad Pro or MacBook Air in your hands? Well not exactly. Samsung apparently needs to get foldable displays to a standard that’s acceptable for an Apple product, which could take some time. By corroborating this with other reports, my colleague over at Laptop Mag has a foldable MacBook pegged for 2026. 

A slide snapped at the SID Review event showed Samsung still needs to overcome foldable display issues like buckling, creases and cracks. As someone who’s using the Galaxy Z Fold 4, Samsung has made some headway here, but I feel the crease and feel of a folding display isn't quite there yet to match the standards that one might expect from an Apple device.

A foldable MacBook?  

Foldable MacBook concept

(Image credit: adrstudiodesign)

Apple has long had a history of coming to new technologies a few steps behind other brands, but is generally better at implementing new technology. When it comes to foldable displays, Apple has positively dragged its feet. But I don’t think that’s a bad thing given foldable screens are impressive but far from perfect. 

But another three years of development and gestation and foldable screen could be a lot better; by then it would make sense for Apple to enter the world of foldables. And a foldable tablet or MacBook would make sense in my opinion at least. 

Apple’s iPads have grown to be more than just big iPhones into devices that could possibly replace a laptop. So I could see a scenario in which Apple introduces a foldable device that worked as both a large iPad when folded flat or closed, and then as a MacBook with a virtual keyboard and trackpad when folded at some 45 degrees. 

A foldable iPhone would also seem logical. But looking at the past few generations of Galaxy Z Fold phones, which offer somewhat incremental upgrades, and how the Google Pixel Fold seems a bit first-generation in my eyes, I sort of feel foldable phones have stalled a bit. 

Comparatively, the likes of the Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Fold and the dual-screen Lenovo Yoga Book 9i not only offer a dose of innovation in the laptop world, but also bring in literal flexibility in how one uses a computer. 

Given the quality of Apple’s MacBooks and how I feel their design is at a point where it’s not likely to change much over the next few years, I reckon Apple could make waves by creating a foldable tablet-laptop hybrid mixing iPadOS and macOS in a package that works well.  

This may seem like a stretch given how safe Apple has played things with its iPads and iPhones over the past few years. But we’ve seen Cupertino has an appetite for innovation as demonstrated by the Vision Pro, so I’m casually crossing my fingers for some form of foldable MacBook in the coming years. 

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Roland Moore-Colyer

Roland Moore-Colyer a Managing Editor at Tom’s Guide with a focus on news, features and opinion articles. He often writes about gaming, phones, laptops and other bits of hardware; he’s also got an interest in cars. When not at his desk Roland can be found wandering around London, often with a look of curiosity on his face.