Apple Working on Foldable iPhone, Patent Suggests
- Written by TechXO Team
- Category: Gadgets
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Foldable mobile phones are all the rage in 2019 and with their booming market suggestions, it does not come as a surprise as another tech giant decides to join the current trend. Apple has officially joined in on the foldable mobile phone bandwagon as it files patents for the development of a foldable device.
The latest patent filed talks about the mechanism that keeps the foldable portion of the phone free from damage when temperatures become too cold. In the patent, parts of the screen that are flexible are heated to a predetermined temperature. This would prevent materials such as adhesives to become inflexible.
Another patent that was filed in March 2018 was for a foldable battery that could be integrated into the display screen.
Talking about displays, Samsung has completed deliveries of foldable displays to Apple according to some industry sources. The displays are said to be slightly smaller than Samsung’s very own Galaxy Fold. Apple’s display only measures about 7.2-inches in size.
While reports have suggested that Samsung might hold off on selling its foldable display technology to other competitors, it does not seem to be the case. Currently, the tech giant supplies OLED displays to Apple which it uses in its latest iPhone line-up, the iPhone XS and XS Max.
Apple, though, does have some challenges that it needs to address before it can fully release a truly foldable phone. A majority of these challenges come from the materials themselves. These revolve around the screen. With most foldable displays using a combination of polymers to cover screens, Apple’s long-standing relationship with glass-maker, Corning, makes it unlikely that the company will be willing to use plastic as an alternative.
Corning is already in the works of creating a bendable glass but it is not quite there yet. Most plastic screens in use for these new foldable mobile phones can be folded completely in half. The glass currently developed by Corning is still unable to.
The last of these challenges would be iOS and user experience. Apple has been known to give the user the best experience when it comes to using their mobile devices. It is predicted that these stringent standards would apply to the possibility of a foldable iPhone. The question lies whether iOS can support a foldable version while at the same time, providing the best user experience that one can get from using a foldable phone. It is predicted that Apple might have to open this to developers to start development on software that would complement the hardware.
Given these developments though and the number of patents filed by Apple since 2014, it would not be too far off to conclude that a foldable iPhone might be in the works and might be in store shelves as early as next year!
The Foldable Mobile Phone Trend
The idea of foldable phones has been around for quite some time. After the release of last year’s Royole FlexPai, foldable phones became a reality. While the first bendable phone leaves very little to be desired, this year brought in Samsung Galaxy Fold and Huawei’s Mate X.
Samsung Galaxy Fold was announced along with the Galaxy series. The phone folds right in the middle and features a 4.6-inch HD+ Super AMOLED screen on the front and a foldable 7.3-inch QHD+ Dynamic AMOLED display on the inside. This puts the device somewhere between a tablet and a decently sized mobile phone.
The Huawei Mate X offers a different take on the fold. It doesn’t have two screens but instead has one screen that can be folded into a pair of smaller ones— a 6.6-inch screen on the front and a 6.4-inch one on the back.
Other companies are looking to develop their own foldable devices and with Apple joining the competition, it will be an exciting year for mobile phone enthusiasts.