The latest patent application from Apple published by the US Patent & Trademark Office points to the company patenting a foldable display. Samsung has long been rumored to be working on its own foldable smartphone, though we have heard rumors about Apple working with LG on a foldable smartphone as well.
The patent application from Apple describes using advanced carbon nanotube structures to prevent corrosion to the sensitive parts of the foldable display. In addition, the patent mentions the touch sensor of the display featuring an optically clear adhesive to facilitate the bending of the display.
While Samsung’s bendable smartphone is rumored to make use of a foldable POLED display, Apple’s patent mentions using micro-LED as the main display for a foldable iPhone. However, it also mentions using foldable LCD and OLED displays in the patent application. There’s also a mention of using liquid metal as a shape memory alloy for the chassis of the foldable iPhone.
Apple notes that “The material that forms layer 14-1 may be a shape memory alloy (e.g., nickel titanium) or a bulk metal glass (sometimes referred to as amorphous metal).” Bulk metal glass is also liquid metal.
Apple had filed the patent application first in Q3 2016. Considering the complexity involved in making a foldable iPhone, I’d say we are still at least a few years away from one being turned into a reality. With Samsung teasing foldable displays for a few years now, the Korean company is likely going to beat Apple in being the first to the market to release a foldable smartphone.
[Via Patently Apple]