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Newly granted patent shows Apple is considering an ‘iPhone Fold’

FIG. 6F illustrates ways in which an electronic device displays and allows user interaction with content on multiple displays.

I’m still dubious that we’ll see a foldable iPhone. However, a newly granted patent (US 11972164 B2P) for “User Interfaces for Devices With Multiple Displays” shows that Apple is investigating technology for an “iPhone Fold.”

About the patent

The patent relies generally to electronic devices that have multiple displays for displaying various content, and user interactions with such devices. The graphics accompanying the patent seemingly show a device (almost certainly an iPhone) with a foldable touch screen. 

Why I’m skeptical of an ‘iPhone Fold’

I’ve long doubted that Apple plans a foldable iPhone. And a February 16 report from Weibo user Fixed Focus Digital claimed that Apple has abandoned its plans for a foldable iPhone.

“Apple is accelerating the research and development of folding screen products, and has purchased several friends’ devices on sale for disassembly research, but it is said that because the display failed to test the screen, the project has been put on hold,” Fixed Focus Digital tweeted.

I know nothing about the guy (or gal), but I’ve long expressed doubt that Apple would release an “iPhone Fold.” Why?

As noted by the Make Use Of website, since the screen on a foldable phone folds and unfolds several times a day, it wrinkles down the middle and leaves a noticeable crease. This can prove to be interrupting in daily use as you slide your finger across the screen.

Also, as the article notes, dust is a big problem for foldable phones because they have a lot of moving parts. If any small dust particle enters the phone body via any one of its openings, it can cause problems and potentially kill the device. 

Finally, Make Use Of notes that making a foldable phone means sacrificing a lot of internal real estate to house all the moving parts. The hinge itself takes up a lot of space. 

“Due to this, foldable phones often have mediocre battery life—at least not as good as what they could have if the moving parts didn’t take up so much space,” notes Make Use Of.

Summary of the patent

Here’s Apple’s abstract of the patent: “In some embodiments, an electronic device displays and allows user interaction with content on multiple displays. In some embodiments, an electronic device displays three-dimensional content using coordinated views on multiple displays. In some embodiments, an electronic device shares content while displaying a video conferencing user interface. In some embodiments, an electronic device facilitates the display or keeping private of content on multiple displays. 

“In some embodiments, an electronic device facilitates the display of information from applications using a shared graphical input coordinate space. In some embodiments, an electronic device presents indications of notifications. In some embodiments, an electronic device presents representations of items of content that are related to content presented on the one or more electronic devices. In some embodiments, an electronic device presents user interfaces including a soft keyboard.”

Dennis Sellers
the authorDennis Sellers
Dennis Sellers is the editor/publisher of Apple World Today. He’s been an “Apple journalist” since 1995 (starting with the first big Apple news site, MacCentral). He loves to read, run, play sports, and watch movies.