APPLE could be developing a FOLDING iPhone with a flexible screen, newly unearthed patent documents show.
The tech giant has submitted a patent showing a double-folding screen that can be bent backwards or folded inward from either end.
4 An Apple patent document shows the design for a multiple folding deviceCredit: Apple
4 A design shows what the possible folding iPhone could look likeCredit: www.foldable.news
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It suggests the device could fold to be the size of a phone – but also open up to act as a tablet.
Huawei, Samsung and Lenovo have all launched foldable devices since Apple submitted its prototype last year.
The patent documents – found by Apple Patently – claim ownership of single and multiple-folding designs.
In the application, 37 drawings illustrate technical features and folding configurations.
4 The patent shows a screen that can fold in multiple directionsCredit: Apple
The folding mechanism appears to work via a hinge that rotates to allow the screen to fold in on itself.
It can also open up to a 90 degree and a 180 degree angle, the patent claims.
The screen can also fold into a triangular shape – suggesting that two people opposite each other can view content at the same time.
4 Apple’s patent filing shows a screen able to unfold to 90 degrees and 180 degreesCredit: Apple
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Speculating about possible designs, Patently Apple reported: “The flexible cover layer may be formed from a ceramic material (e.g., glass, strengthened glass, sapphire, zirconia) to provide some measure of protection for the flexible display from impact or other potential damaging contact.
“The flexible cover layer may also provide structural support for the display along both the folded and non-folded regions of the device.
“As used herein, a cover layer may also be referred to as a cover sheet or simply as a cover.
“In general, a foldable electronic device can be folded to accommodate a variety of form factors.
“For example, a foldable electronic device may be used in an unfolded configuration to allow use of an entire display area.”
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The apparent tech breakthrough could be rolled out to multiple Apple devices – including the iPad, MacBook and Apple Watch.
It comes after a previous patent by Apple titled ‘Flexible Display Devices’ was filed on October 12th, 2018
Designs have been transformed into convincing pictures showing how the product would look by Dutch industrial designer Roy Gilsing.
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It is unclear whether Apple actually plans to develop the folding device.
The Sun Online has reached out to the firm for comment.
It comes after Samsung recalled its £1,800 Samsung Galaxy Fold in April after early units being tested by gadget reviewers broke.
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