Apple Exploring Possibility of Foldable iPhone With Flexible Display

Discussion in 'iOS Blog Discussion' started by MacRumors, Nov 22, 2016.

  1. MacRumors macrumors bot

    MacRumors

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    The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office published an Apple patent on Tuesday that shows the company has been researching a foldable iPhone design that uses a flexible OLED display.

    First spotted by AppleInsider, a patent titled "Flexible display devices" describes an iPhone design that folds in two when not in use, reminiscent of the old clamshell cellphones Motorola used to make in the 1990s.

    [​IMG]

    Apple's version utilizes a number of flexible parts including an OLED and a hinged metal support structure, made in one example of a nickel and titanium alloy known as nitinol, which has special elastic properties. Flexible polymers are used in alternative embodiments.

    Apple envisions that the upper housing could include cameras, display controllers, speaker modules and light sensors, with the lower section of the chassis containing microphones, CPU and graphics processor, along with vibrating and other typical smartphone mechanisms.

    The two sections connect via a single- or multi-shaft hinge that allows them to rotate relative to each other, while flexible printed circuit boards keep the connection intact. The flexible display meanwhile runs over the two sections and includes extra material to support two or more folding configurations.

    [​IMG]

    Apart from the the more familiar clamshell folding system, the patent describes how the display could fold outward, allowing both halves of the screen to remain accessible when the phone is closed shut. This second configuration also includes clips for fixing to the user's clothing.

    Later in the patent, Apple explores other more elaborate embodiments including a two-hinge design vaguely reminiscent of a Jacob's Ladder toy, and goes on to consider cover glass and viewing angle details.

    [​IMG]

    The patent is more a point of interest rather than an indication that Apple is set to release a foldable phone, however the research could make its way into other products. The technology could be implemented in a large iPad that folds away, for example.

    In addition, next year's 10th anniversary "iPhone 8" is expected to include a flexible OLED display, but the traditional overall form factor will most likely remain.

    Article Link: Apple Exploring Possibility of Foldable iPhone With Flexible Display
     
  2. dannys1 macrumors 68020

    dannys1

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    I yearn for the day where we carry around tiny phones again...perhaps foldable is the answer eventually.
     
  3. Adithya007 macrumors regular

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  4. Sunny1990 Suspended

    Sunny1990

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  5. Roller macrumors 68030

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    So it'll be half as thin as the current iPhone when it's unfolded.
     
  6. RightMACatU macrumors 65816

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  7. polee macrumors 6502a

    polee

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    Oh no. Samsung will come out with this first now that it is reported here.
     
  8. goomba478 macrumors regular

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    It's so funny, when watching WestWorld yesterday they had something almost exactly like this and I thought to myself, " I could totally picture Apple making something like this." Make it happen ^_^.
     
  9. Pelea macrumors 6502

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    Calling it, iPhone 9s explodes due to unexpected battery problems that occur from folding the phone
     
  10. vertsix macrumors 65816

    vertsix

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    Samsung has already developed functional flexible displays, buddy.
     
  11. Zackmd1 macrumors 6502a

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    If anyone wants to see how something like this could be used, watch WestWorld! In WestWorld, there is an iPad sized device that can fold up via a two hinge mechanism into something about the size of a iPhone plus. I would love to have something like this! Maybe one day.....
     
  12. Goatllama macrumors 6502a

    Goatllama

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    So the phone industry is going to come full circle, er, angle? I think something with limited flexibility would be nice, don't necessarily need to fold it up, that seems a bit harsh on the hardware. But I'm not an engineer, so who knows. :D
     
  13. ScottButler, Nov 22, 2016
    Last edited: Nov 22, 2016

    ScottButler macrumors regular

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  14. Bustycat macrumors regular

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  15. Dormammu macrumors 65816

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    Won't be implemented for another 4-5 years.
     
  16. neuropsychguy macrumors 65816

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  17. BvizioN macrumors 601

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    They have, and not just Samsung. Seen photos of some concepts years ago. Still vaporware though, until it makes it to the consumer.
     
  18. jonnysods macrumors 603

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  19. kemal macrumors 65816

    kemal

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  20. Speedy Dingo macrumors regular

    Speedy Dingo

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    #20
    Where do you put the battery? Or will that also require a dongle in the future? :p
     
  21. joueboy macrumors 68000

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    If iPhone 6 and iPhone 6S has all the issue recently on a solid body frame. There's no way Apple could make a foldable without a problem. Just sayin!
     
  22. il8on macrumors newbie

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    I'm just here to read the best execution of a Bendgate joke.. *grabs popcorn*
     
  23. 69Mustang macrumors 604

    69Mustang

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    How is this relevant in a thread about patents? Afaik, no one claimed Sammy had foldable consumer tech. Functional flexible displays was the claim. Not the same thing.

    You're right though. Multiple companies are working on flexible/bendable displays. A couple of example below.
    Lenovo:

    Xiaomi:
     
  24. erinsarah macrumors 6502

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    "The two sections connect via a single- or multi-shaft hinge, known as a 'bendgate', that allows them to rotate relative to each other."

    Boom. Done.
     
  25. emm386 macrumors 6502

    emm386

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