Apple is behind the curve (or should that be crease) when it comes to foldable devices and phones. But that’s likely down to the Cupertino company waiting for the technology to be mature enough before it makes the first foldables plunge, which looks like it could come in the form of a foldable iPad.
While the so-called iPhone Flip foldable phone seems to have withered on the rumor tree, rumors have been slowly building around the idea of an iPad that folds. Now some relatively reliable analysts and tipsters are touting a launch date of 2024.
So there’s a chance we could finally see the first foldable from of Apple in the next 12 to 24 months. Knowing how well-polished Apple makes its products, we could see a foldable iPad set the standard for others to follow. Read on for everything we know about the rumored foldable iPad so far.
Foldable iPad latest news
After tipster and analyst Ming-Chi Kuo claimed the foldable iPad would arrive in 2024, Bloomberg's Mark Gurman shot the rumor down, noting he's heard nothing about a foldable iPad coming in 2024.
Rather Gurman said we'll still see some upgrades to current iPads, such as OLED displays on the iPad Pro, and "spec bumps" for the base iPad 10.9-inch and iPad mini.
Both tipsters are fairly reliable, so it's tricky to predict who's rumor is on the money here. As ever, time will tell.
Foldable iPad release date and price speculation
We have no solid release date for the foldable iPad, and will likely not get one until Apple makes it official, if that ever comes to pass. But what we do have are some rumors from reliable tipsters, most notably Apple oracle and analyst Ming-Chi Kuo, who has the foldable iPad set for a 2024 launch.
When this would happen in 2024 is unclear. But given Apple would be introducing a new form factor to its developer ecosystem, an announcement or tease at the Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC) 2024 would make some sense. After all, Apple has revealed products before at WWDC.
Or the foldable iPad could be a ‘one more thing’ moment at the launch of the iPhone 16, which would likely take place in September 2024. If not then, Apple could do a separate iPad-centric event in October 2024.
As for price, there have been no hints so far. Given the Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 4 costs $1,799 / £1,649 / AU$2,499, there’s a chance a folding iPad could be equally pricey. But while Apple products aren’t cheap, they are still priced to sell in volume. So we’d predict that the folding iPad could be priced around $699, putting it between the iPad Air and iPad Pro.
Foldable iPad design
The rumors are muddy when it comes to the folding iPad’s design, other than it will fold.
With Apple tipped to be working on a 20-inch foldable display for MacBooks, it could be that Apple goes big with the foldable iPad, making a device that offers a large screen for the likes of digital art, graphics work or collaboration-based workflows that folds down to the size of an iPad Pro.
Or Apple could take the iPad mini 6 with its 8.3-inch display and have it fold in half to be even more portable, something that would appeal to a few of us.
One thing we’d place is decent bet on is that Apple will have worked on getting a foldable design that’s nearly seamless but also robust. Apple is rarely first to technology innovations these days, but it’s still a dab hand at refining them to near-perfection — just look at the build quality of MacBooks or the consistent experience delivered by iPhones. So there’d be a good chance that Apple comes up with some form of new smart hinge design, or work with Samsung Display to develop an iPad screen that folds neatly and has no compromises on color reproduction or contrast.
Speaking of color, one rumors suggested the foldable iPhone could have an color e-ink display. This came from Kuo, who noted that it could form a new standard of display for foldables. So that dispaly could actually find its way to the foldable iPad. But as it stands, e-ink displays aren’t up to the standard of other screen tech when it comes to color and contrast, so this tip could be a little out there.
Like the current iPads, we’d not be surprised to see the foldable iPad have some rear cameras. These can be awkward and a bit goofy to use in public. But the ability to use them with augmented reality apps, means shooting photos on iPads is still just about on the acceptable side.
We’d predict the foldable iPad will still carry on the aesthetic of the current iPads, likely sporting the flat edges seen on the iPad Pro, as well as side mounted volume controls. Whether Touch ID integrated into a power button or Face ID would be used, hasn't been hinted at.
So as it stands, the design of the foldable iPad is open to speculation. But we’d predict that it will have that clean Apple aesthetic and potentially set a design that others will be keen to ape.
Foldable iPad specs and battery life
Much like the design, there’s not been much to go off around the foldable iPad. We’d predict it would use A-series chips, like those found in the iPhone 14 range, thereby blending performance with efficiency in a compact package.
Having said that, the iPad Air and iPad Pro models now sport the Apple M1 chip. So if the foldable iPad does end up being a large tablet when unfolded, it could have the space for a more powerful system-on-a-chip (SoC). M-series performance would make the foldable iPad more capable for professional workloads, like high-resolution photo and video editing and rendering. An M-series chip would also open up gaming potential for the foldable iPad.
Again, there’s no mention of battery life, but we’d expect Apple to equip the foldable iPad with a battery that could easily power the tablet throughout the day. There’s scope for dual batteries in each half of the tablet connected to form one large battery; such tech has already been used by OnePlus. This would allow the foldable iPad to have decent battery life without becoming too thick.
Foldable iPad: What we’d like to see
- A slick design that justifies the folding form. Foldables are great but can at times feel a bit gimmicky or have too many compromises; the Galaxy Fold phones are still too thick, for example. For Apple to succeed here, we’d like a highly refined foldable tablet that’s not too thick, yet also doesn’t compromise on power or battery life.
- A killer foldable display. Even the best foldable devices tend to have visible creases. So we’d hope with the foldable iPad that Apple finds a way to almost eliminate it. Yet, we’d also want a vibrant display that’s got plenty of brightness and color; it’s greedy, but we want the best of both worlds.
- A wide range of apps. The best foldable phones have done a good job at porting over apps to work well on their displays when folded out, But plenty of apps are far from perfect and can be a challenge to use. We hope that Apple would harness its massive developer ecosystem to have a whole range of apps not just adjusted for a folding iPadOS, but also take into account the folding display and put it to use; say more productivity apps that can embrace split-screen use.
- A great range of accessories. With a new form factor comes the scope for more use cases, and a foldable iPad would be no exception. So we’d like to see comprehensive accessory support, from Bluetooth mouse and keyboard connectivity, to innovative covers that could store an Apple Pencil as well as other potential inputs or accessories.