HP's Spectre Foldable PC is exactly the kind of thing Apple should be making

The HP Spectre Foldable PC.
(Image credit: HP)

OK, foldable laptops. They're very new indeed and, as with so many new products in their infancy, they're expensive. The HP Spectre Foldable PC costs $5,000, which is a lot even by Apple's MacBook Pro standards. But I'd wager that it's Apple's logo that should be on the back of this thing, not HP's.

Now don't get me wrong, I'm not bashing HP here. I'm of course very glad that the Spectre Foldable PC exists. But after months of rumors that Apple is working on something very similar, HP's offering does little more than confirm something that was already becoming increasingly obvious — if Apple doesn't enter the foldable laptop market relatively soon, it'll be left behind. Again.

Apple only has to look to the foldable smartphone to see what I'm getting at. With Samsung, Motorola, and more Android OEMs falling over themselves to launch foldable phones, the bendy iPhone remains conspicuously absent. 

Surely history won't repeat itself, right?

Bending over backwards to be fashionably late

Now, I know what you're already saying. Apple isn't normally the first to any market but once it does enter it, it normally changes the game. And you'd be right.

The iPhone was far from the first smartphone, but everything changed when 2007's original model debuted. There were tablets before the iPad, but Apple's now dominates. The Apple Watch? Far from the first Dick Tracy watch, but it's now the most popular watch on the planet. Not the most popular smartwatch. The most popular watch, outselling the entire Swiss watch industry combined.

So it's fair to say that Apple doesn't have to be first to a market for it to take it over. But it does have to actually enter it at some point.

To put this into perspective, the original Samsung Galaxy Z Fold launched in September 2019, four years ago this month. Yet we still don't have a foldable iPhone and it's thought to be years away at best. You could argue that Apple was waiting for foldable technology to get better but, frankly, just look at the Galaxy Z Fold 5 and Google's Pixel Fold. They're both really good, all things considered. It's time we had a foldable iPhone, and that's a hill I'll die on. 

So what about laptops?

Coming soon-ish?

a foldable pc against a pink background

(Image credit: Future)

There have been rumors of Apple working on some sort of foldable MacBook for at least a year. We've even seen patents that appear to telegraph such a thing. But it hasn't happened yet. The rumors suggested that 2027 could be a possible realease window, by which time the Spectre Tablet PC will have been around for a couple of generations at least. And who knows how many other foldable laptops will have been released by then, too?

The Spectre Foldable is a laptop that can go from a 12.3-inch screen to a massive 17-inch one, depending on what you want to use it for. There's a hardware keyboard that sits on the display for you to type on, and it's all really rather magical.

Now imagine that as a MacBook Pro or, if Apple prefers, an iPad. Hear me out — imagine a huge 17-inch tablet that could be folded in half with a Magic Keyboard slapped on the bottom when you want to enter laptop mode. If we wanted to be really picky we could ask for iPadOS and macOS on this thing, too. There's really no technological reason why that couldn't happen, either.

But at this point, we're very much in the realm of wishful thinking. But the day that the likes of HP are making that wishful thinking into reality, not Apple, is a very strange day indeed.

Oliver Haslam

Oliver Haslam has written about Apple and the wider technology business for more than a decade with bylines on How-To Geek, PC Mag, iDownloadBlog, and many more. He has also been published in print for Macworld, including cover stories. Having grown up using PCs and spending far too much money on graphics card and flashy RAM, Oliver switched to the Mac with a G5 iMac and hasn't looked back.