Future iPhones could come with a foldable screen after the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office granted Apple a patent for it this week. The patent discusses an electronic device with a flexible, or bendable, screen and cover.
It has to be said at this stage that many businesses register patents which never result in commercial products. The current application was already filed about 16 months ago and isone of a number of applications Apple has submitted regarding the concept of a flexible screen.
Wedbush Securities analyst Daniel Ives stated: “Foldable phones and 5G represent the next generation of smartphones in the coming years.”
In an interview with CNN, he said that Apple had been undecided about the idea of foldable screens for years, but rumours started emerging about the company taking the concept more seriously in 2017.
Previously Apple has submitted patents for a flexible iPhone that can fold in half and grip the user’s clothes, as well as a flexible screen with sections that close/open similar to a book.
Ives believes the new patent is important because it shows that Apple sees foldable screens as part of its future.
In February, both Huawei and Samsung promised foldable phones, but making this a reality seems to be more difficult than they realised. A number of reporters who had a chance to test Samsung’s $2,000 smartphone/tablet reported their devices broke within a couple of days. The company had to delay the device’s April launch and no new launch date has been set.
Ives expects the earliest Apple will be able to launch a foldable iPhone is late 2020 or early 2021.
He added: “They’re well behind Samsung when it comes to foldable phones. But one advantage is that Samsung’s Galaxy Fold has had technical issues, as well as expensive pricing.”