Foldable iPad is taking a back seat for Apple’s OLED transition — what we know

iPhone Flip Concept
(Image credit: EverythingApplePro)

Earlier this week we heard some news that suggests Apple could be making a big investment on foldable displays. If true it could inch us closer towards the launch of a foldable iPhone Flip, and potentially other foldable displays on other Apple products — including the iPad.

Sadly there may be bad news on the foldable iPad front. According to a report from Nikkei Asia, Apple’s focus on transitioning the iPad display to OLED could come at the expense of a future foldable tablet.

The report cites anonymous sources in the supply chain, who claim that Apple will start “evaluating the possibility of making foldable iPads” once it’s done switching the rest of the lineup to OLED. Word is that the iPad Pro will make this switch next year, while another rumor claims that the iPad Air and iPad mini could get the upgrade as early as 2026. The entry-level iPad will no doubt have to wait at least 1-2 years for similar treatment.

It’s noted that there’s no “concrete timeline” for the development of the foldable iPad. But judging from what the report says, and rumors we’ve already heard, we may not see development start for quite some time. Somewhere towards the end of the decade at the earliest.

Another smaller note is that the first OLED MacBook may launch in the latter half of 2025 “at the earliest” — though it doesn’t say which one. While there have been rumors that the MacBook Air will be the first to enjoy OLED, it's also speculated that the MacBook Pro could be set for the upgrade in 2026. Frankly, this sounds like the kind of feature that would debut on a MacBook Pro or one of Apple’s premium standalone displays like the Studio Display.

There’s no telling what might actually happen, though. Apple may accelerate its timeline for a foldable iPad in the coming years, or it may scrap whatever scraps of a plan it already has in favor of other projects.

iPad 2022 playing Asphalt 9 game

(Image credit: Future)

It’s also unclear what this means for a potential foldable iPhone, Rumors about the device have been all over the place the past few years, and the prospect of a 2025 launch has been thrown about on occasion. 

Then again considering we don’t know what form an iPhone Flip might take, it could well be that both it and the foldable iPad are the same thing. Though it would all depend on the size of the inner screen, and what sort of capabilities the device would have. You can’t have an iPhone that doesn’t make calls, but at the same time a display like the Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 5 is firmly in tablet territory — even if the screen is smaller than Apple’s smallest iPad.

Sadly this is the kind of situation where we’re just going to have to sit tight and wait to see what happens. Don’t expect anything major anytime soon, but in the meantime you can keep up to date on the latest news and rumors in our iPhone Flip hub.

More from Tom's Guide

Tom Pritchard
UK Phones Editor

Tom is the Tom's Guide's UK Phones Editor, tackling the latest smartphone news and vocally expressing his opinions about upcoming features or changes. It's long way from his days as editor of Gizmodo UK, when pretty much everything was on the table. He’s usually found trying to squeeze another giant Lego set onto the shelf, draining very large cups of coffee, or complaining about how terrible his Smart TV is.