Apple thinking about making foldable iPhones, patent reveals
What was once a meme may come back as intended reality
In the tech industry, it's a well-known fact that Samsung is currently developing and planning on launching a flexible Galaxy phone very, very soon — perhaps in the first quarter of 2019. The phone has been openly talked about by Samsung bigwigs numerous times, and a prototype was even shown publicly (albeit the lights were dimmed) at the recent Samsung Developer Conference in November.
Now, while it sounds like amazing tech, most pundits and fans are still befuddled at how well the device is going to be able to transfer from a folded to unfolded state. Is it going to be a useful feature to have at all, or just a fun gadget to boast with. Do foldable phones even have a future?
Samsung is not the only company trying to give us an answer to these questions, with rumors that Huawei is also looking into the foldable design. But recent leaks reveal that Apple is planning to join the fray as well!
Revealed by Patently Apple, we have a patent that has been filed by Cupertino in March of 2018 and publicly posted by the USPTO today. It shows that Apple is — at the very least — brainstorming different ways to make a foldable iPhone.
The listing describes the use of an OLED panel — Apple has slowly been switching away from LCD since last year's iPhone X. In order to make a screen that can withstand multible bends, Apple has invented a coating, which combines a polymer with pigment flakes. Once applied to an OLED panel (via spraying, dipping, or even printing), the coating becomes a protective surface that can twist and turn without cracking or wearing easily.
What's interesting is that Apple's patent shows a device that folds both inwards and outwards. As of right now, Samsung's own flexible phone will be an inwards-folding one. This is because, reportedly, Samsung couldn't make a screen that can stretch and survive a fold-out motion. It seems Apple will be looking to do just that.
As for whether and when we will be seeing this tech — it's all up in the air. This is a friendly reminder that patented technology means that a company is currently dabbling in a certain area, however, it's no proof that said company will ever consider this technology good enough to sell.