Foldable iPhone soon? Apple patent hints at clamshell-style device with foldable display

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Published: February 18, 2019 11:09:45 AM

Patent literature describes that flexible displays may be mounted to the housing portions overlapping the hinges.

Apple has applied for a patent for a device with a foldable display and a hinge.

The tech industry is witnessing rapid changes with each passing day and cutting-edge upgradation by tech-giants has made the smartphone market more dynamic. Apple, a worldwide brand known for its technological advancement in its products, has revealed something new through its new patent filing hinting at foldable phones. According to reports, the company has applied for a patent for a device with a foldable display and a hinge.

According to a report from CNET, the patent is a continuation of another patent that Apple had first filed in 2011 and later updated in 2016.

The patent has been filed in the United States Patent & Trademark Office (USPTO) and was published on February 14, 2019, with multiple sketches to represent the foldable device within.

According to The Indian Express, the patent literature describes that 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.

A patent is not proof that Apple wants to make a foldable iPhone in the near future. ( Apple/USPTO)

It added that the 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.

A clamshell device is shown in the patent, similar to what Motorola has mentioned in a patent for a sequel to Moto Razr. Reportedly, the idea is to make a larger phone that becomes smaller in size with a help of a foldable display and a hinge.

However, the approach is different from Samsung, which is trying to transform a tablet into a smartphone. The Apple 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. Moreover, Apple often file patents that never become actual products. It could be working on a foldable device, though it’s not certain whether the patent specifically signals a bendable iPhone in the making.

Meanwhile, companies like Samsung, Huawei, Motorola, Vivo and Xiaomi are all expected to launch foldable phones this year. In fact, Huawei and Samsung could launch a foldable phone as early as next week. It is reported that Apple is also closely working with LG to develop a foldable OLED screen.

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