Foldable tablets: iPad and already available Android options Foldable tablets: iPad and already available Android options

The rumors of Apple designing a foldable iPad have been circulating for about four years now. Those that have some substance underpinning them, that is. And it looks like the tech giant from Cupertino really is willing to join this race. There are even rendered images floating on dedicated forums and sites that show how the device can look. Let’s see what’s known, what’s behind the move and who’s already making foldable tablets.

Foldable iPad by Apple: release date, specs and everything else known so far

The first of those foldable iPad rumors hit the web sometime in early 2019, and it looks like it was based on some 3D renderings and leaks from supply chain sources, both rather obscure. And yet, it turns out there was some solid ground underneath that guesswork.

Foldable phones and tablet. Image from WikimediaFoldable phones and tablet. Image from Wikimedia

You could say that foldable tech is just a natural course of events, and once the technicalities have been sorted out, i.e., a mass-produced screen that can endure the implied treatment is available, such devices will be made by every major player. True; but Apple isn’t just a gadget maker, it’s a trendsetter, like it or not, so if it goes for a foldable iPad, the concept is likely to stay with us, not fall into oblivion.

Anyway, since 2019, the said rumors gained new details of varying degree of believability; one of them even put the foldable iPad release date to 2020, but that didn’t happen. As of late October 2023, the key source of information about this sort of device from Apple are still leaks from suppliers, the latest thereof reported (paywall) by DigiTimes Asia, a specialized news and analytics outlet.

So, what’s known about foldable iPad so far:

– it’s in intensive development;

– the sights are set on the end of 2024;

– it’s likely to be a flexible screen, not two separate screens, although the crease problem hasn’t really been remedied;

– the maximum expected foldable iPad screen size is 20 inches;

– there will be a small (comparatively small, that is) batch first;

– if there’s traction, the production will be scaled, but it’s going to be 2025 by then.

Why a foldable iPad, not a foldable iPhone?

That’s simple: iPads are a fraction of Apple’s sales, compared to iPhones. Thus, if the product is a failure, which is always an option, they can scrap it and cut their losses without a major impact on the company’s business. Who knows, maybe, if the foldable tablet sells well, we’ll see a foldable phone by the Cupertino giant. Time will tell.

Foldable gadgets: major players

Samsung, which launched its Galaxy Fold in 2019, remains the key maker of foldable tech in 2023 with its Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 5, bound to have its 6th iteration next year, and Galaxy Z Flip 5 phone. 

There are also devices from LG (LG Gram Fold, currently a limited launch in South Korea), OnePlus (OnePlus Open, a crossover between a tablet and a phone, a successful product), Lenovo (ThinkPad X1 Fold), as well as a number of less known brands like Tecno (Tecno Flip). All things considered, the concept did show market relevance and viability, so Apple is the contestant here, not the disruptor. Thus, we’re in for an interesting race.

Last minute entrant: Motorola

Motorola bendable phone. Image from Motorola websiteMotorola bendable phone. Image from Motorola website

When this piece was already marked up and scheduled to go online, Motorola revealed a concept of its foldable phone. Or, the more correct term here would be bendable, not foldable, since it looks like this device offers much greater freedom in terms of screen flexibility. A disrupting black horse? The race has just got considerably more interesting, that’s for sure, even if Motorola fails to deliver exactly as promised.

Author's other posts

Is Apple looking to design AR glasses again?
Article
Is Apple looking to design AR glasses again?
A recent patent application filed by the company suggests as much.
Free access to AIs from DuckDuckGo, anonymous
Article
Free access to AIs from DuckDuckGo, anonymous
Artificial intelligence for suspicious users that (over)value privacy.
Sightful puts its AR laptop, Spacetop G1, up for preorder
Article
Sightful puts its AR laptop, Spacetop G1, up for preorder
Augmented reality, reinvented in the form factor of a laptop with glasses, and extremely intriguing design.
Microsoft launches its Copilot bot on Telegram
Article
Microsoft launches its Copilot bot on Telegram
Microsoft brings its Copilot, the AI product the company obviously bets big on, one step closer to users.