Apple iPhones that can be folded might hit the market soon. This was after the American technology company filed a patent for a foldable phone with the US Patent and Trademark Office. It is expected that these devices will feature a hinge mechanism to avoid the pitfalls that were evident in foldable phones from other manufacturers.
Apple May be Cooking Something Good
American manufacturer Apple has something up its sleeves. And this time, it is once again looking into the foldable smartphone market. Apple recently filed a patent titled "Electronic devices with flexible displays and hinges." The patent's abstract reveals that the company might launch a new smartphone that can be folded. However, its version will have a unique hinge mechanism with movable flaps to give the smartphone a flexible display.
Reportedly, the movable flaps will help the phone to fold and unfold. It will also create sufficient space between the display's folding portion to prevent the smartphone from creasing when it is opened. What's more, the flaps will help to keep the Apple device in a semi-curved state when closed. They will retract when the phone is closed, thereby enabling the smartphone to fold inside in a way that will not lead to damage.
Creasing or slight marks has been a major issue in existing foldable phones such as the Samsung Galaxy Fold, Royole Flexpai, and Huawei's Mate X. Accordingly, Apple would be posing bigger competition if it succeeds to eliminate this design flaw.
Foldable Phones Are Nothing New to the Smartphone Market
The idea of foldable smartphones is nothing new to the market, even though these devices still sport some design error. The Samsung Galaxy Fold, for instance, has been reported to have some defects in its design. The device's screen could break, and issues were encountered with the removable protective layer of the phone.
This design issue could be tied as the major cause of the slow down in the sales of the Galaxy Fold. According to Samsung, 400,000 units of the Galaxy Fold were sold since September, which is lower than its expectation for over 500,000 units to be sold.
Huawei's Mate X Also Shows Creasing Problem
Over and above that, the same creasing problem is evident on the Huawei's Mate X. The only smartphone that has managed to pull it off, is the Motorola Razr. Despite this, some users have reported that the Motorola Razr still creaks when folded. Microsoft has tried to avoid the problem by settling for a dual-display approach on the Microsoft Surface Duo and Surface Neo.
Uncertainties About the Launch of a Foldable iPhone
Nonetheless, it is still uncertain if Apple will follow up with its most recent patent to launch a foldable iPhone. The company had also filed a patent for a foldable phone, but with a clamshell design in February 2019. And before then, it had filed a patent in 2011 focused on foldable phones and it was updated in 2016.
In March 2018, for instance, Apple filed a patent for a flexible battery. The battery is intended to work with a flexible display. It will feature a graphite padding to absorb the heat that may be generated within the device. Despite the delay in launching the foldable device, something cooking this long may turn out to be worth all the time put into it.
Apple's new patent also marks the fifth it has filled related to foldable phones, within the past five years. It was also speculated within this time frame that it could launch foldable iPhones or iPads by 2021. Nonetheless, the company has not made significant moves in that direction, so far.
But while we await what the smartphone manufacturer might do in the near future, users can entertain themselves with the idea of five new iPhones that are expected to be launched this year. We could possibly see models like the iPhone 12, iPhone 12 Pro, iPhone 12 Pro Max, iPhone 12 mini, and iPhone SE 2 or iPhone 9.