We cover plenty of Apple rumors and leaks, but rarely do those reports come with such certainty from such a trusted source. This latest news is different – analyst Ming-Chi Kuo reported on Twitter that he’s “positive” Apple will launch a folding iPad in 2024.
Other tech companies have fully embraced devices with folding screens at this point, but Apple doesn’t rush to follow trends. Instead, it typically waits for a new market to mature while its design teams work on a more elegant – or a more “Apple” – solution.
Details are scarce at this point, but it seems reasonable that a folding iPad would implement two large OLED displays similar to those seen in the current iPad Pro. How Apple intends to tackle the problem of a “seam” in the display remains to be seen, but a product like this would further blur the lines between tablet and notebook, allowing for more advanced workflows and multitasking. It could conceivably work as a replacement to a MacBook, with a design similar to this impressive dual-screen laptop from Lenovo. Kuo says the design includes a carbon fiber kickstand to make it “lighter and more durable”.
Of course, critics of the current iPad lament its lack of desktop-grade software – the latest models are amazingly powerful, but still unable to perform many tasks a MacBook can do thanks to a lack of suitable apps. Some of that is slowly changing – our 2022 App of the Year brings pro-grade layout software to iPad for the first time – but Apple may have to change tact if it wants the iPad to genuinely replace the computer.
With these big plans on the horizon, Kuo believes Apple will hold off on releasing any further iPads this year, resulting in a slight downturn in year-on-year sales. (Some might say that gap in the release cycle also helps make room for Apple Reality Pro.) Apple will make up for the lack of 2023 iPads with a bumper 2024 schedule, with the folding iPad set to be a truly game-changing release. Kuo says the new model will “boost shipments and improve the product mix.”