New report says Apple is building a secret folding device





Apple is working with LG on a foldable display for a brand new top secret device that has yet to be announced. That’s according to a new report from The Elec, and it follows similar claims from reliable tipsters that Apple has some sort of hybrid device up its sleeve.

Elec’s report explains that LG Display is set to supply HP with a 17-inch foldable glass panel that will go into production later this year. These OLED screens will offer 4K resolution and will find their way into a future 11-inch laptop from HP.

The Aus Zenbook 17 Fold folded in half on a table in front of hedges.
Jacob Roach / Digital Trends

Along with this panel, The Elec claims that the two companies are planning “another foldable OLED panel”. Judging by past reports, this could result in a product that combines an iPad, MacBook, and monitor into one Frankenstein-like device creation.

Aside from the fact that the display will use OLED technology, The Elec’s report doesn’t share any other specific details about this mysterious panel. For example, while journalist Mark Gurman and analyst Ross Young have both previously said that this folding screen could stretch to 20 inches, The Elec offers no estimates. However, the outlet says the panel “is designed for tablets and laptops with ultra-thin glass as the cover window instead of polyimide.”

A new frontier for Apple

A concept image of a foldable Macbook created by LunaDisplay.
LunaDisplay

Apple’s laptops typically use a 16:10 aspect ratio as opposed to the more common 16:9 ratio, and it’s possible this panel could go with the flow. However, the fact that it’s a foldable screen muddies the waters a bit.

This is because it would be a versatile device. According to previous rumors, it could work as a monitor when unfolded or, alternatively, as a large tablet. When partially folded, it would look like a laptop. With that in mind, working out specs like aspect ratio or likely resolution is something of a fool’s game right now, as leaks suggest it will have all sorts of uses.

I expected Apple to launch a foldable iPhone as early as 2024 in my reports last year, but it’s now clear that that prediction needs to be revised. I predict that Apple could launch its first foldable product in 2025 at the earliest, which could be a foldable iPad or an iPad & iPhone hybrid. https://t.co/HGIDPFvdar

— Guo Ming-Chi Kuo (@mingchikuo) April 1, 2022

According to Gurman and Young, the device would offer a full on-screen keyboard when folded into laptop mode. We know that Apple is working on some sort of haptic virtual keyboard that mimics the feel of tactile keys, so it’s possible that technology like this could debut in this foldable iPad-MacBook hybrid.

Whatever happens, this is clearly uncharted territory for Apple, so we expect the device to be very early in its development cycle. This is backed up by Young’s February 2022 report, in which the display industry analyst predicted the product wouldn’t see the light of day until 2025 at the earliest, with more likely targets of 2026 or 2027. for a release date. This idea was reinforced by reliable analyst Ming-Chi Kuo, who also said that 2025 is the earliest date we should expect. When that day comes, Apple’s product line could be changed forever.

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