With the smartphone market increasingly saturated every OEM is looking for the next gimmick to get buyers interested again, and it increasingly looks like it will be folding smartphones.
Apple is the latest to join the list of companies apparently experimenting with the idea, with a new patent being published today describing “A folding device with a flexible display.”
As the title suggests, unlike other companies Apple is going all out with an actual flexible, folding screen rather than a dual-panel design. The patent goes into detail on the elements of the screen’s design to enable it to survive being folded, including the addition of carbon nanotubules and the use of an optically clear adhesive.
Apple also envisions using a shape memory alloy such as nickel titanium or liquid metal to enable the folding of the frame.
The patent was applied for on the 22nd September 2016, and it is not known if Apple is developing the idea further. The company is well known to let other companies take the arrows while they come in later perfecting the technology, so I suspect we will see Samsung’s device well before Apple enters the folding smartphone scene.
Microsoft’s own mythical Surface Phone is of course also rumoured to be coming in the near term, and we wonder whether Apple or Microsoft’s flagship device will hit the market first.