Apple has applied for a patent where a future iPhone could sport a foldable display and a hinge. According to a report from CNET, this patent is a continuation of another patent that Apple had first filed in 2011 and later updated in 2016. Apple could be working on a foldable device, though it’s not certain whether the patent specifically signals a bendable iPhone in the making.
The patent filed with the United States Patent & Trademark Office (USPTO) was published on February 14, 2019, with multiple sketches to represent the foldable device within.
The patent literature describes “Flexible displays may be mounted to the housing portions overlapping the hinges. When the housing portions in a device are rotated relative to each other, the flexible display may bend.
“Hinges may be configured to allow the flexible display to be placed in a front-to-front configuration in which the active side of the display faces itself or a back-to-back configuration in which the active portions of the display face away from each other.”
The patent shows a clamshell device, similar to what Motorola has mentioned in a patent for a sequel to Moto Razr. The idea is to make a larger phone that becomes smaller in size with a help of a foldable display and a hinge. The approach is rather different from Samsung, which is trying to transform a tablet into a smartphone.
Through the patent, we’ve learned that Apple aims to make a foldable phone with several hinges, meaning the device would have a large OLED screen by default, but become smaller in size for portability. As usual, a patent is not proof that Apple wants to make a foldable iPhone in the near future. Companies like Apple often file patents that never become actual products.
Apple isn’t the only company that reportedly interested in making foldable smartphones. Samsung, Huawei, Oppo, Motorola, Vivo and Xiaomi are all expected to launch foldable phones in 2019. In fact, Samsung and Huawei could launch a foldable phone as early as next week. It is reported that Apple is closely working with LG to develop a foldable OLED screen.