Apple has filed for a patent (number 10,303,218) for a “foldable cover and display for an electronic device.” It hints at a foldable iPhone, though the Sellers Research Group (that’s me) is dubious the tech giant will ever release such a smartphone.
Per the patent filing, the display layer and the cover layer are configured to be moved between a folded configuration and an unfolded configuration by bending the cover layer along the foldable region. Methods of making a cover layer for an electronic device are also disclosed.
In the patent filing, Apple notes that, traditionally, electronic devices have a single form factor that may be driven by the size and shape of the display. Because many traditional displays are rigid or at least not flexible, a traditional device that is adaptable to accommodate multiple form factors includes the use of a mechanical hinge or pivot joint. However, these traditional configurations used for traditional notebook and tablet devices are inherently limited by the integration and size required by a separate mechanical hinge, according to Apple.
The tech giant says its patent filing involves “devices and techniques for forming portable electronic devices having a flexible cover coupled to a flexible display that do not have the limitations or drawbacks associated with some traditional solutions.”
Of course, Apple files for — and is granted — lots of patents by the U.S. Patent & Trademark Office. Many are for inventions that never see the light of day. However, you never can tell which ones will materialize in a real product.