Samsung’s got everyone excited with its folding Galaxy X, but it seems even Apple is busy working on a way for its iPhones to bend. The USPTO recently published a patent application by the latter for a flexible display.
Apple’s patent talks about a screen which a person would be able to open and close like a book. It features a flexible portion which allows the device to bend when folded. The company’s applied for a couple of patents like this before, but this is the first one which talks about using microLED panels and liquid metal as a shape memory alloy.
The application actually covers LED, OLED, and microLED displays being utilized, so it can’t be said for certain what material Apple will eventually go with. A previous report had talked about this foldable iPhone coming to light by 2020/2021. This roughly lines up with the firm’s expected adoption of microLED technology.
microLED is expected to be the next big thing, offering the benefits of OLED without the drawbacks such as screen burn-in. As for the shape memory alloy, it could be used as the support layer which allows for the bending to take place. This indicates that Apple won’t be using a hinge like the ZTE Axon M, but a properly bendable panel.
Of course, as with any Apple patent, there’s a chance a foldable iPhone may never come to light. The company has a habit of patenting ideas but never promoting them to the production stage.