Apple's Folding iPhone Design Concept Revealed In Patent Filing

Foldable devices have been touted as the next big development in the smart device market. The Samsung Galaxy Fold will hopefully be eventually released in the coming months, while Huawei claims that half of its flagship devices will be foldable by 2021. Apple, one of the largest technology companies in the world, is expected to also get in on this action. Apple was just granted a patent by the US Patent and Trademark Office for a foldable device.

The patent describes a device with a cover and display layer that connect to a bendable region. The flexible cover layer is meant to protect the display layer and provide structural support. The device is also able to fold not once, but twice. It is unclear if the foldable device will be a new iPhone, iPad, or some other new creation.

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This is not Apple’s first foldable patent. The company was granted a patent for a a flexible battery in March 2018. The battery would be integrated into the display of the device and include graphite padding to deal with overheating issues. They later won a patent for a magnetic closure that would keep foldable devices closed.

Apple also may be working on multiple kinds of foldable devices. This past February, they received a patent for a device that is able to fold vertically. It appears that the company is more concerned about portability than screen sizes.

It remains to be seen if Apple will jump on this trend as soon as possible, as no one really knows if foldable devices truly are the future. Many Apple consumers have not upgraded to the latest generation of iPhones, as users are deterred by the high prices and would rather stick to their reliable, older Apple devices. Some consumers have even turned away from Apple devices altogether. A recent report from research firm Gartner contended that Apple is losing ground in major markets like China. Chinese consumers are instead purchasing devices from companies such as Huawei and Oppo.

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The Samsung Galaxy Fold as so far received poor reviews from early testers. They argue that the display is incredibly fragile and that the protective cover is flimsy. Samsung is making some major changes to this device before it can be released. Apple is likely taking a wait and see approach and will let its competitors be guinea pigs for this new form-factor.

Many Huawei devices have also been banned in the United States and other western countries. It is unlikely that a Huawei foldable device will be available in American markets. Although many other companies that are welcome in the United States may also release a foldable device, now is the time for Apple to strike. The company will need to find a way to convince consumers to purchase their next generation devices, and foldability may be an enticing feature.