Apple Could Take Inspiration from Samsung for Its Foldable Phone, Patent Reveals

Apple Patent Foldable iPhone With External Display For Notifications

Apple has been working on various technologies for future iPhones, iPads, Macs, and Apple Watches. Recently, 63 patent applications filed by the company were granted by the USPTO (United States Patent and Trademark Office). Among those patents, there is a patent that describes a foldable device, and it is different from other patents that Apple had filed in the past.

The newly granted patent describes that the foldable device could have a portion of the screen that overlaps the bend axis. Such a device can be used in a folded configuration that offers enhanced portability, and using it in the unfolded mode will enhance productivity due to a larger screen real estate. While Apple has filed applications for various foldable devices earlier, this patent is different because of its protruding display portion.

The exposed display portion, as you can see in the image above, can be used to quickly glance over information such as alarms, battery status, calendar, emails, reminders, text messages, wireless signal strength, and more. Moreover, there’s another display area that is always exposed, and it can be used to display icons, frequently used applications, and more. This outer display can be used to access quick functions such as for taking a picture using the rear-facing or the front-facing camera without a need to open the device completely.

Apple’s idea for this kind of foldable devices seems to be inspired by Huawei and Samsung, both of which have similar devices in the works. The companies have even launched their first-generation foldable smartphones. While Huawei’s foldable smartphone features an outward foldable screen, the one by Samsung has an inward foldable screen, similar to the patent that was granted to Apple. Samsung’s Galaxy Fold even has a smaller display at the front for using the device without a need to always open it completely.

Our Take

It is almost certainly possible that we will get to see a foldable iPad or iPhone from Apple in the future, and the company has filed several patents for such devices. However, we are a few years away from such a product, and we can’t be sure which form factor Apple would end up using.

In our view, a device with an inward foldable screen is more practical as the screen can stay protected when it’s not being used. A device with an outward foldable screen has a higher chance of getting damaged, especially since we’re not at a stage yet where screen protection material for foldable devices is as tough as it is for classic candy bar-style smartphones.

[Via: Patently Apple]