Foldable MacBook: An all-screen atrocity?

Foldable MacBook An all-screen atrocity

Foldable MacBook sounds interesting, but isn’t the MacBook already foldable? Well, the foldable MacBook in question here is a 20-inch, all-screen device that folds in half. And it looks quite appealing to the eye as well. So, does it intrigue you?

Well, the concept sounds fascinating to me, but how it will be of any utility is what we’re going to find out today! Read on.

Foldable MacBook renders: Fantastic but fragile?

Ross Young, the CEO of Display Supply Chain Consultant, has revealed that Apple is working on a foldable display in a report. Then, there’s designer Antonio De Rosa revealing a set of renders and a video.

Further, the device has a 20-inch display that folds in half, thanks to the hinge mechanism at the back. A hinge equals a crease in the display. This is observed in several other foldable devices, and the foldable MacBook will follow the trail unless Apple comes with a solution and revolutionizes foldable displays.  

Young mentions that the device is a 20-inch foldable display. Moreover, renders shed light that the device also houses a trackpad, so the device’s length will be larger, and the overall size might be similar to a 13-inch MacBook Air when unfolded.

Sure, all-screen foldable devices are a novelty, but these displays are fragile by nature. When you look at renders, it reveals that the device is pretty slim. A 20-inch foldable display paired with a slim body will certainly have you worried about it breaking in your bag and then breaking your bank.

For ports, we have a pair of USB-C ports on both sides of the device, and that, in my opinion, is an excellent number of ports for a device of this stature. Considering this device will launch a couple of years down the line, it’ll support Thunderbolt 5 and above. I am definitely pumped up to try this device hands-on!

What’s the utility of a foldable MacBook?  

We’ve established that the foldable MacBook is a treat to the eyes, but what does it bring to the table that Apple’s already existing devices don’t? For starters, it is a foldable display that can also be used as an external display when unfolded. Besides, Apple does not have a high-resolution portable display on any device.

The MacBook Pro features a 2K panel, and the foldable MacBook display is said to be a 4K panel. The only high-resolution displays in Apple’s arsenal are the Pro Display XDR and the recently launched Studio Display.

Further, if the foldable MacBook has a 4K panel, it’ll be Apple’s first portable high-resolution device. Also, it’ll double as an exceptional multimedia portable device.  

While the device houses a physical trackpad when folded, the display doubles as a virtual keyboard. As this is a display and not primarily a keyboard, you can use this space as you like.

Asus has a few dual display laptops. The goal of such devices is to help boost productivity. The secondary display is a blessing for graphic designers, especially when it’s a touch screen panel. The same applies to video editors. There are numerous other use cases of a secondary display.

Can a virtual keyboard ever replace a physical keyboard?

Virtual keyboard on Foldable Mac
Twitter user: @aderosa75

We just spoke about the display doubling as a virtual keyboard, but can a virtual keyboard ever replace a physical keyboard? While most of us will agree that nothing matches the feel of a physical keyboard, we need to look at the facts.  

When we look at smartphones from a little over a decade ago, like BlackBerry’s and Nokia’s, they manifested users’ fondness towards physical keyboards. But these devices were soon replaced by all-screen smartphones. Do you think the replacement of a physical keyboard by a virtual keyboard is inevitable?

In my opinion, most definitely not. I’m someone who loves mechanical keyboards. Why? It is one of those things you need to experience to understand.

Mechanical keyboards feel a lot different than membrane keyboards. Membrane keyboards have become mainstream for the past couple of decades as they are cheaper to manufacture on a large scale, leading to an overall cheaper end product. 

However, a virtual keyboard will never feel like a physical keyboard. No matter how good the haptics are, a physical keyboard cannot be replaced.

Will it kill the iPad?

Will Foldable Mac kill the iPad
Twitter user: @aderosa75

The next question that comes to mind is where Apple will place this product in their lineup. They already have a lineup of products catering to a wide variety of users, especially the addition of Mac Studio, filling many gaps. Will the foldable MacBook replace the iPad or the MacBook? It can act like both these devices simultaneously. 

Apple has never introduced a MacBook featuring a touch screen display. However, they’ve always marketed the iPad as a replacement for a laptop/PC. So, what market is Apple targeting exactly with this product? Let me know what do you think about this in the comments below.

What are my expectations of a foldable MacBook?

The expectations of foldable MacBook
Twitter user: @aderosa75

The foldable MacBook, while still a concept, except for minor flaws, seems to be an exceptional device that might revolutionize the current standard of laptops.

  • Display: The display is great as it is said to be a 4K panel or higher. That, in my opinion, is more than sufficient for a 20-inch device. However, I think Apple might go for a 5K panel, similar to how it did for Pro Display.
  • Ports: Will this device replace the MacBook Air? Only time will tell. It has 4 four USB-C ports, a good number of ports considering that the M1 MacBook Air comes with only two. No complaints there!
  • Battery: The device’s battery life is one factor Apple should pay attention to. M1 MacBook has a phenomenal battery life, and Apple has raised the bar so high that this device cannot fail to provide a good battery life experience.
  • Speakers: Speakers will be loud and clear; the current Apple devices are a statement of this. The only aspect which I want Apple to perfect is durability. 
  • Durability: Durability has always been a complication with foldable devices. While some companies have achieved water resistance for foldable devices, the bigger evil is dust. A little dust on your display when you fold your device, and you will have scratches on your display.

    Even the device’s hinge is affected when minor dust particles are stuck in the hinge if Apple can nail this hinge mechanism and make the device more durable than the current standard of foldable devices.

A yay or nay to the foldable MacBook?

What do you think Apple should do to create a perfect foldable device? Perfect is and will always be subjective, as perfect for some might not be perfect for others. Nonetheless, this is a great device from what we know so far, and it is more than a couple of years away.

So, all we can do is wait patiently and see what and how Apple revolutionizes the foldable market! Share your thoughts in the comments below!

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Consumer Technology and Motorcycles are the two things that excite Darryl the most. Why? Because Tech helps better people's lives, and solving people's problems related to tech is something he enjoys. And what about bikes, you ask? Well, drop a gear and disappear.

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