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Science
24 Nov 2017

Apple working on "foldable" iPhone that opens like a book!

Apple patent application for devices with flexible displays

While Samsung, with Galaxy X slated for 2018 release, may be ahead of Apple in the foldable-phone-race, a patent by Apple suggests a foldable iPhone could be in the works that could be "opened and closed like a book."

Apple's patent application "Electronic Devices With Flexible Displays" talks about an unnamed device but it could be related to a possible foldable iPhone.

Here's more!

In context

Apple patent application for devices with flexible displays
Apple teams up with LG for foldable display

Partnership

Apple teams up with LG for foldable display

The US Patent & Trademark Office published Apple's patent application for the unnamed device, for which the Cupertino tech-giant is believed to be working with LG to develop its screen.

Previous reports also claimed that Apple is secretly working on a foldable iPhone and partnered with LG and not Samsung (the world's best OLED screen maker) due to concerns over design and specification leaks.

Details

Patent shows all-screen device with bend axis

The patent was filed by Apple on 22 Sep'16, meaning it describes a "relatively new invention".

The new iPhone would have a flexible OLED screen in a brand-new design; the patent suggests that the device itself is foldable.

It would have a full-screen display with a flexible area in the middle that would bend to separate the screen into halves (like a book).

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What does the patent say?

"An electronic device may have a flexible portion that allows the device to be folded. The device may have a flexible display. The flexible display may have a bending region that allows the display to bend along a bend axis when the device is folded."

Device may be used as regular iPhone or iPad

Screen modes

Device may be used as regular iPhone or iPad

The iPhone could bend in such a manner that the screen-halves would face each other and/or away from each other.

If the device offers both the screen-modes, then it could be used either as an iPhone with front and back displays or like a small-sized iPad having a laptop mode.

Though Apple has patented the technology, there's no guarantee that it would use it.

Display

iPhone could sport micro-LED display

Apple's patent application also suggests it could use micro-LED display technology for the foldable iPhone.

Previous reports have also claimed that the Cupertino giant is looking to replace the LCD/OLED displays with micro-LED.

While LED screens are transmissive, micro-LED displays are emissive (self-emitting), meaning that every pixel, which has sub-pixels, is its own light source.

Micro-LEDs offer high contrast ratios and deep blacks.

Samsung

Samsung to launch foldable Galaxy X in 2018

While reports claim that the mysterious "foldable" iPhone would not be launched before 2020, Apple's rival Samsung is reportedly set to unveil its foldable Galaxy X next year.

Samsung has recently confirmed that the Galaxy X smartphone is in the works; it could release the bendable phone in limited numbers.

Galaxy X could have a hinge and bendable screen with a flip-phone-like design.

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