Apple steps closer to foldable future with latest patent grant

By Digit NewsDesk | Updated 29 May 2019
Apple steps closer to foldable future with latest patent grant
  • ​Apple granted another patent for foldable display.
  • It could have a flexible cover layer to provide protection to the display.

The US Patent and Trademark Office has granted Apple a patent for a foldable screen that could be used on iPhones and other devices. According to Patently Apple, the patent is for an electronic device with a display and cover that are flexible or bendable. The flexible cover layer may be formed from materials like glass, strengthened glass, sapphire or zirconia to provide protection to the flexible display from potential damage. This layer may also provide structural support for the display.

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The latest patent differs from the one that was granted to Apple earlier this year. Two parts hinged together with a foldable panel fixed on top were depicted in that patent. The new patent shows a foldable phone that wraps around the outside of the device. It should be noted that companies, including Apple, often patent ideas that never get transformed into a product or a service. It could also be that Apple is experimenting with different designs to get one right for foldable iPhones to come. Reports of bendable iPhones have been doing the rounds since 2016 and Apple has been rumoured to be in talks with Samsung, LG and BOE for foldable displays in the past. So the Apple wagon is certainly moving towards some form of foldable device in the future.

While Samsung and Huawei picked up on the foldable phone trend this year, Apple still finds itself on the other side of the fence. Samsung’s Galaxy Fold, however, is on a sticky wicket after several reviewers reported issues with the display and Samsung delayed the launch of the phone. Huawei is yet to launch its Mate X foldable device which is slated for a July debut. Samsung's bendable flagship could arrive alongside the Mate X in July unless the company hits any further hardware snags. 

Talking about Apple's stake in the market, Daniel Ives, an analyst at Wedbush Securities, told CNN Business., "They're [Apple] well behind Samsung when it comes to foldable phones. But one advantage is that Samsung's Galaxy Fold has had technical issues as well as expensive pricing.”

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Apple has also filed patents for a flexible display with touch sensors and portions, as well as a flexible iPhone that can fold in half and grip a person's clothes.  It has been reported that the Cupertino-based company will launch a foldable phone in 2020. “Foldable phones and 5G represent the next generation of smartphones in the coming years,” Ives added. Maybe Apple will have that chunk of the pie after all. 

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