The Foldable iPhone is Coming, Apple files Patent
Adding to the list of smartphone companies working towards a foldable design for a smartphone, Apple is the new kid on the block. The company has filed a patent application with the US Patent & Trademark Office for a foldable display for future devices.
This will be a massive competition for the Samsung foldable smartphone Galaxy X and Huawei’s unnamed foldable smartphone, which is expected to launch next year. Previously, we have also seen OPPO filing a patent for a foldable smartphone.The new Apple patent describes a device that can be ‘opened and closed like a book.’ In the filing, Apple states that the foldable display will have a flexible region that can bend along an axis to allow it to fold without breaking the display. The above image shows how a foldable iPhone will have an all-screen design (14, 14E, 14M) that can bend around an axis (16), having a central flexible display area (14M) separating two halves that are likely to be flat. The patent lists possible display technologies – LCD, OLED, and Micro LEDs. The Micro LED displays are like an LED screen with smaller diodes. According to a report, Apple is exploring Micro LED display as a potential replacement for LCD and OLED screens.
There were other interesting mentionable things, too, like using liquid metal as a support structure for the display in open or closed forms. The liquid metal is rarely used, with the Turing phone being the last to use. The foldable smartphone will allow the iPhone to fold and make it more compact. It will also eliminate the need for two cameras in the device.
The foldable design is speculated to be a collaboration between them and LG, backed by the report stating that Apple may invest in an LG display factory to produce the foldable display. Interestingly, LG has shown off several foldable display prototypes over the last two years, including one that can be rolled like a newspaper and another that can be folded like a book. LG is said to have created a dedicated team to develop an OLED display for a future iPhone.
Samsung manufactures the current OLED panels of the iPhone X. But the reason that Samsung is already developing a foldable device might have forced them to go to LG. However, LG has suffered various problems with the Google Pixel 2 smartphone. Multiple reports of screen burn-in forced the Chinese company OnePlus to opt for a Samsung-made display for its new flagship, the OnePlus 5T.
There were new reports a few weeks ago saying Apple is working on a revolutionary iPhone design that will debut around 2020. Still, Samsung and Huawei have already made prototypes of their foldable smartphone, which hints that it will come to market before this iPhone. Also, Apple files a lot of patents that it doesn’t use. Apple filed dozens of patents to place a fingerprint sensor under a device’s display, which will not be used anytime soon.