Technology companies file patents every now and then. While these ideas may or may not necessarily see the light of the day, they indeed give us a sneak peek into what the tech biggies have up their sleeves for the near future. Apple, which recently launched its iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus with dual camera module, is already riding up the buzz list for its anticipated anniversary edition iPhone 8. Now what is bringing more attention to the company is its recent patent filing which hints at a foldable phone concept. Also Read - Apple Music Lossless, Spatial Audio features with Dolby Atmos coming soon to IndiaAlso Read - Apple sells more iPads in early 2021 than ever, grows along with Samsung
Apple is known to have filed a patent for the foldable smartphone technology way back in 2013. However, what is of interest is that the company appears to be still continuing with the idea. Patently Apple has found two Apple patents which are related to the foldable iPhone concept. Filed in 2014, the patent talks about specific materials that could offer the desired flexibility to the smartphone and allow it to be folded in the middle like a case. The patent mentions that while the casings of the phone could be anything, from metal to glass or ceramic, the flexibility would be offered by what is called as carbon nanotubes. It is also the first time that Apple has considered ceramic as the material for a bendable smartphone. Also Read - Apple Podcasts Subscriptions and channels go live in 170 countries starting today
According to the patent, the carbon nanotube paths can form signal paths that are flexible and resistant to cracking. This could make the concept of foldable displays more practical. The carbon nanotube structures, as described in the patent, can be incorporated into signal cables such as flexible printed circuit cables, portions of display structures, portions of touch sensors such as capacitive touch sensor arrays for displays or track pads, camera structures, or combinations of such structures. To help prevent cracks in the signal lines traversing bent portions of a flexible substrate from disrupting signal flow, some or all of these signal lines may include carbon nanotubes.
The concept of a foldable smartphone has also been previously teased by Samsung in 2013 when it showed off a smartphone with a bendable display. In a concept video, the company further threw light on the design of the smartphone which resembles a pocketbook. ALSO READ: Samsung could unveil a 5-inch foldable smartphone next year: Report
The Samsung concept bendable smartphone is rumored to be unwrapped in 2017. However, given the company s focus on bettering the regular smartphones and making them explosion-proof, it is unlikely that the foldable pocketbook-like smartphone could make it to masses in the coming year.
Earlier this year, Apple was awarded a patent for a 360-degree wraparound curved display. The patent shows off an iPhone design with a screen wrapped around the device with no volume rockers or power buttons. However, the patent elaborated the extremely old 30-pin connector at the bottom. This could be attributed to the fact that the patent was submitted way back in 2011 when the new-age Lightning port was perhaps not even thought about.
Apple s latest patent appears more feasible and practical with the use of carbon nanotubes to achieve flexibility. However, the awarding of patent is no way a clear indication of the technology being truly commercialized. Apple will be celebrating the tenth anniversary of its iconic iPhone in 2017 and is expected to announce a redesigned flagship iPhone 8 that could come with an OLED display, wireless charging, and a new 5-inch variant. While having a truly foldable iPhone is still a distant dream, there are reports that the iPhone 8 could be a truly bezel-less device, something similar to Xiaomi’s recently unveiled Mi Mix. ALSO READ: Xiaomi Mi MIX with 6.4-inch bezel-less display launched in China: Price, specifications and features
Image source: USPTO