Apple has been granted another patent (number 10,069,100) that hints at flexible iPhones — and perhaps iPads. Similar patents include number 9,684,196, 9,504,170, and 9,485,862.
The latest patent is for a device with a display with flexible layers to accommodate bending. Lubrication layers formed from textured surfaces, slippery coatings, and lubricants such as oil or other liquids may be interposed between the layers of the display so that the display layers slip past each other during bending of the device and display. This would help prevent stress from building up in the display as the display bends and therefore allows the display to bend without damage.
The Nikkei research group has predicted that we’ll see two foldable iPhones in 2019 (though the Sellers Research Group says this won’t happen): “There will be a 4.7-inch phone that can be turned into an iPad mini. Another model would be a 5.5-inch handset that can become a full-sized iPad when unfolded.”
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.