Apple Wins Foldable iPhone Patent and Samsung’s Hot on Their Heels

Samsung is rumored to be in the pre-production phase its revolutionary new smartphone — the foldable, bendable, large but pocketable Galaxy X.

The Galaxy X will embody a first of its kind, foldable form-factor allowing Samsung to employ a massive 7.3-inch OLED screen capable of bending in half around a defined axis.

Apple is also widely believed to be working on a new iPhone form-factor based on a similar foldable axis design. In fact, the company has been granted multiple foldable iPhone patents over the last few years — hinting that the technology is being developed and refined behind-closed-doors. 

Earlier this week, Apple was granted yet another patent covering a futuristic foldable iPhone design. Specifically, Apple’s patent No. 10,020,462 covers the company’s invention relating to “electronic devices” like iPhone or iPad which may be built around a hinge, allowing the device to be “flexed about a bend axis,” Patently Apple explains.

Filed back in Q2 2016 but published on Tuesday by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO), Apple’s latest patent is purely technical in both nature and terminology.

Essentially, it covers the Cupertino tech-giant’s invention of a mechanism allowing devices like iPhone to literally be folded in half — much like the device illustrated in Apple’s patent FIG’s 1, 3, and 4 below.

In order for the display to easily bend about the bend axis, Patently Apple explains, the panel itself may be equipped with one or more layers — such as an “outer display cover layer” which may be formed from “glass or other transparent materials.” Relying on “grooves and recesses” also built into the underlying framework, the display would be able to form a “flexible layer” allowing the glass or transparent materials to bend in either direction along the axis.

Unfortunately, while some reports have hinted that Apple is readying its foldable device for a 2019 or early 2020 unveiling, we currently have no firm details about pricing or availability.

Learn more about Apple’s ongoing work in the development of a foldable iPhone device to counter Samsung’s upcoming Galaxy X here.

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