Apple files patent for foldable iPhone with hinge mechanism

Apple is exploring the possibility of releasing a foldable iPhone after filing a patent on Tuesday for a device with “flexible displays and hinges”.

The bendable smartphone would feature moveable flaps to prevent creases and marks from forming on the display, which is an issue that has been prevalent in similar devices released recently by Samsung and Huawei.

This is the first time that information about a potential foldable iPhone has surfaced, and it comes just a day after the patent was published by the US Patent and Trademark Office.

Analyst Ben Wood is not surprised that the Cupertino-based company is dipping its toes into new tech as it has a “long history” of assessing possible cutting-edge advances but only making moves after it is seen to be mature enough to improve its product line.

He added: “There is little doubt Apple has probably been assessing flexible displays for years behind closed door and it comes as no surprise it is trying to do something different.”

Apple’s new design is unique in that it has a hinge mechanism that would ensure that the phone remains in a semi-curved state when it is being used in its foldable form.

This “adequate separation” between each half of the device would solve some of the issues that have plagued devices such as the Samsung Galaxy Fold, which went on sale last September.

A few defects that have made it difficult to position foldables as mass market products include broken displays and problems with removable protective layers.

As the patent for the device has only just been filed, it seems that a foldable iPhone or iPad is still some way off from seeing an official release.

Rival companies including Samsung are expected to show off their latest efforts at this year’s Mobile World Congress, which gets underway in Barcelona next week.

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