Apple has been granted a patent by the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) titled “Electronic Devices with Flexible displays”. The patent sheds light on Apple plans to create a self-heating foldable screen that doesn’t crack easily in the extreme cold.
First spotted by Patently Apple, the Cupertino company could be thinking to add a temperature sensor that detects how warm the device is. The patent explains different ways of heating up the section of the screen that folds. One solution is to generate heat by illuminating the screen itself.
“To facilitate bending about the bend axis without damage when the display is cold, a portion of the display that overlaps the bend axis may be selectively heated,” Apple explains.
“The portion of the display that overlaps the bend axis may be self-heated by illuminating pixels in the portion of the display that overlap the bend axis or may be heated using a heating element or other heating structure that provides heat to the portion of the display overlapping the bend axis.”
Apple patent provides an early look at how the company is trying to improve the durability of the foldable screen. As with every other patent, there’s no guarantee it will ever come to fruition.
At this point, it’s hard to tell if Apple will release a foldable phone. But one analyst from Bank of America Merrill Lynch already claims that Apple could launch a foldable phone in 2020. The Tim Cook-led company was previously rumoured to be working with LG Display on a foldable phone.
Earlier this week, Huawei announced the Mate X foldable phone at the Mobile World Congress (MWC) 2019 in Barcelona, Spain. Last month, Samsung unveiled the $1980 Galaxy Fold, a foldable phone which transforms into a 7.3-inch tablet. Oppo, Xiaomi, Motorola and TCL are also working on foldable phones. Interestingly, Google’s Android mobile operating system will natively support foldable phones.