A foldable iPhone is potentially in the cards, based on the deluge of patents Apple has secured over the past few years. But we know very little about what to expect in terms of design. Would an iPhone use a flexible screen or special hinges to achieve the foldability we’ve seen in other devices? Would it resemble folding phones already on the market?
A special set of geared hinges could allow an iPhone to fold in two different ways, according to AppleInsider, which reports on a recently uncovered patent application for “Folding Electronic Devices With Geared Hinges.”
Filed in April 2020, the patent describes an “electronic device” with a foldable display. This constitutes a screen with its “first and second portions” joined using a hinge that can be folded “inwardly and/or outwardly about [a] bend axis.”
An attached illustration (above) reveals what the geared hinge might look like when folded or unfolded. The idea is to ensure the iPhone remains portable, no matter what type of fold is used. It’s unclear what type of screen Apple envisions, but the patent suggests it could be OLED, a micro-LED, or “any other suitable display,” AppleInsider notes.
Apple’s existing foldable iPhone patents have covered everything from sliding displays to roll-up designs. Securing a patent for a specific technology, however, does not mean it will end up in a company’s products.