New Apple Foldable Patent Addresses Avoiding Breakages
Apple’s interest in foldables including phones has been further confirmed with the discovery of a recent patent it filed in Europe.
The specialist patent website Patently Apple reports that Apple has been working on foldable devices that use a sprint layer to protect the display in the event of a fall.
“Apple generally states that the foldable device could be a smartphone, tablet, foldable desktop with a computer embedded in the display, a TV and more,” the publication reports.
In this patent, Apple appears concerned about the fragile nature of a foldable screen and ways to stop it breaking.
“The focus of the patent is preventing damage to the display when the display is contacted by an external object,” the report says. “A spring layer may be interposed between the metal layer and the support layer.
“A foldable display may be coupled to the foldable housing and may be configured to bend along the bend axis as the foldable housing is folded.
“The device may be placed in a closed configuration in which the display is folded for storage and an open configuration in which the display is unfolded and available for displaying images for a user.”
There has been plenty of reports suggesting Apple might belatedly enter a foldables market where Samsung and Motorola have been the trailblazes.
In earlier days under original CEO Steve Jobs, Apple was a disrupter with first-to-market devices such as the iPhone, iPad and lightweight MacBook Airs.
In recent years, under the leadership of Tim Cook, Apple has appeared happy to sit back and watch a market develop before entering it. AirTags and its multimedia Vision Pro headset are two examples where it has employed a “come from behind” strategy.
Rumours about Apple developing foldable devices have been around for years. MacRumours reported that Apple had filed patents around foldables in 2016, some seven years ago.
“Apple’s version utilizes a number of flexible parts including an OLED and a hinged metal support structure, made in one example of a nickel and titanium alloy known as nitinol, which has special elastic properties. Flexible polymers are used in alternative embodiments,” it reported in 2016.
This old report further confirms that Apple happily stays on the side lines and work quietly away without being tempted to directly enter a market. In the case of foldables, it has done this for the major part of a decade.