There is no doubt that Samsung is the first company that comes to mind when it comes to foldable phones, because the Korean company teases this new form factor for several years. An increasing number of reports said about three years ago that Samsung was preparing to launch a foldable phone, but Samsung was steadily delaying it. The phone will finally be available in stores in 2019, but Samsung will face competition from several major Chinese smartphone manufacturers, including Huawei and Xiaomi.
Meanwhile, Apple is working on its own foldable devices, though, as with any other Apple project, the foldable iPhone is very secretive. Nevertheless, there is ample evidence to support Apple's interest in foldable devices, and we have even more evidence that such a device could be in the making.
titled Flexible display devices, a patent application has just been published on the USPTO website, after being filed on October 12th.
If the images below seem familiar to you, it's that we had already covered a related patent in 2016, well before the launch of the iPhone X. At the time, we had announced that the patent revealed that Apple was studying this particular form factor, and that such a device would include an OLED display. The first iPhone with an OLED handset arrived a year later: the iPhone X.
What is interesting is that the old patent (9,504,170) is also entitled Flexible display devices. It was filed on July 18, 2014 and awarded to Apple on November 22, 2016. In addition, the new patent application is a continuation of the old patent, sharing the same inventors. In addition, the images used by Apple in both documents are identical.
We view images showing foldable devices with two or three screens, and one or two hinges allowing the user to fold the handset. The photos also suggest that Apple is considering both iPhones that bend in and out, the screen being placed inside or outside of the device folded.
Apple seems to study different types of foldable devices for the future, and the technology described in these patents can be used not only for smartphones, but also for other gadgets made by Apple, including iPads and the MacBooks. "It would be desirable to be able to use flexible display technology to provide improved electronic devices," writes Apple, after explaining that devices with LCDs are not flexible, but that OLED displays would bend the device. display.
In addition to these patents, many rumors suggest that Apple is considering using a collapsible iPhone. One of the most mysterious said at the end of 2017 that Apple could work with LG Display on foldable iPhones in order to conceal Samsung's design.
It's unclear when Apple's first collapsible iPhone will be launched. The iPhone maker is not expected to unveil new iPhone designs so soon rumors have it that the 2019 iPhones would look almost like their predecessors.