Apple's rumored 20-inch foldable device could be a hybrid MacBook Pro and iPad, one that may lose the physical keyboard in favor of a software-based version.
A rumor surfaced from an analyst on Monday, claiming Apple is exploring making a form of notebook or iPad with a large foldable 20-inch display that could arrive as early as 2025. A report on Sunday corroborated the rumor, making it seem more genuine as a potential future Apple release.
The claim of a device with a "foldable 20-inch screen" is mentioned by Mark Gurman's "Power On" newsletter for Bloomberg as potentially having either type of keyboard. The screen could be "attached to a physical keyboard or just have one side of the display serving as a virtual keyboard," Gurman writes.
A source has reportedly advised that Apple has explored a "dual-screen, foldable MacBook/iPad hybrid." For the concept, Apple would take the approach to "trade in the physical keyboard and trackpad for a fully touch-screen base"
This seemingly tracks with statements made by DSCC analyst Ross Young, who offered the device would be a "true dual-use product" that could offer a "full-size keyboard when folded." When flat and used as a large monitor, it could be "used with an external keyboard."
The proposed product is thought to potentially run at a 4K resolution or higher, given its size. It could also launch by 2025, but is more likely to turn up in 2026 or 2027.
Apple is known to be considering alternate ways to use upcoming technologies and to rethink the designs of existing products, as patent observers can attest. Aside from patents related to foldable smartphones like the rumored iPhone Fold, some certainly point to Apple considering similar ideas to the latest rumor.
For example, in 2018, it was granted a patent for a "dual display" device that looks like a MacBook or an iPad with a very large screen that hinges in the middle. That patent also hints that the lower portion could be used as a temporary keyboard when text input is required.
Numerous patents and applications have also surfaced over the years concerning a so-called "keyless keyboard" concept. This typically involves a MacBook-like device with a secondary screen in the lower section, which could act as a trackpad and keyboard when required.