Apple is reportedly "exploring" a new iPad-MacBook hybrid that uses a 20-inch folding display.
The company is said to be weighing up two possible designs: one with a physical keyboard attached to a foldable screen, another in which half the device's display serves as a virtual keyboard and a trackpad.
Bloomberg's Mark Gurman – one of the more reliable Apple watchers – tips Apple to go with the second approach:
"I’m told Apple has indeed been exploring a dual-screen, foldable MacBook/iPad hybrid that would... trade in the physical keyboard and trackpad for a fully touch-screen base."
Apple is yet to confirm or deny the rumours, but it sounds like any possible iPad-MacBook hybrid could bear a strong similarity to the Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Fold (opens in new tab), which promises to "combine the benefits of a tablet and a laptop" in one device.
The timing of these rumours is certainly interesting.
Sales of iPads have slowed down due to what Apple CEO Tim Cook says is ongoing chip supply issues. Last month, the company reported $7.25 billion in iPad sales – a 14% drop compared to the first quarter in 2021.
A new spin on the iPad could potentially revitalise sales and give the iPhone-maker a huge financial boost.
So, when might we expect to see the rumoured iPad-MacBook hybrid break cover? Gurman points to a prediction by display analyst Ross Young, who says Cupertino is targeting a release "around 2026" – the same year Apple is tipped to roll out an electric car.
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