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Is Apple Working On A Foldable Phone? Patents Say Yes

Apple has been granted another patent that suggests it could be experimenting with foldable devices in a move that could see the global tech titan take on its main competitor Samsung with its upcoming Galaxy Fold.

Other major smartphone makers including Motorola and Huawei have also unveiled popular and highly anticipated foldable smartphones.

‘With another arrangement, the housing may have moveable flaps that extend parallel to the bent axis. The moveable flaps may be placed in a planar configuration to support the display when the housing is in its unbent state,’ Apple’s patent says.

‘The moveable flaps may be retracted when the housing is placed in its bent state. This creates room for a bent portion of the display along the bend axis.’

The new patent, originally filed in August 2016 and first revealed by credible source MacRumors, covers a hinge mechanism for a foldable device that may include retractable panels.

(Photo: Apple/The United State Patent and Trademark Office)

These manoeuvrable flaps would be deployed when the device is unfolded and would reportedly cover the gap between the two portions of the display unit – and would again retract when the gadget is in a bent state.

Since the retractable flaps would be used to cover the gap between the display housings when the device is unfolded, it suggests the phone or tablet device featuring this hinge mechanism would have a minimal crease when folded.

If the patent is finalised through production and eventually released onto the market, it could make a huge improvement on designs from Huawei and Samsung, which both make foldable smartphones that have a visible crease when unfolded.

But this isn’t the first time Apple patents covering foldable devices has been revealed.

The iPhone maker secured a patent for a foldable device in May 2019, and in February of the same year, an Apple patent filing was published showing a hinge for flexible electronic devices.

It’s important to note that the patents don’t directly indicate the company is developing a foldable smartphone – they rather suggest that Apple is considering it.

Meanwhile, Motorola is set to release it’s back-ordered revamped Razr on 6 February, while Samsung is rumoured to be in the making of a new foldable device that snaps like a flip phone – capitalising on the nostalgia of the devices.

(Kyodo via AP Images)


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