While Samsung ramped up to a Galaxy Fold launch this week, we now have a look at what Apple thought a foldable iPhone should look like back in 2014, as a patent applicationindicated last week. The application is an update to a patent Apple saw approved in 2016, with more details around how the phone would fold on its hinge.
The foldable trend is taking over the smartphone sector. Samsung officially launched the Galaxy Fold, a foldable phone that costs just under $2,000, on Wednesday, and Huawei confirmed it plans to launch a 5G foldable phone, likely during Mobile World Congress next week. But so far, Apple hasn’t officially joined in the competition.
Apple’s revised foldable patent application describes a display with hinges that can fold in half or in thirds. The display could be used in anything from phones and tablets to laptops, wearables, and even mobile accessories. “It would be desirable to be able to use flexible display technology to provide improved electronic devices,” the company writes in the application.
The patent app doesn’t mean that Apple may be working on a foldable iPhone and a timeline for when such a device could reach the market is also uncertain. Last March, CNBC reportedthat a new foldable iPhone could be released in 2020, and that it could likely double up as a tablet.
Update February 22nd, 5:32PM ET: This article has been updated to reflect that Apple’s latest patent is a continuation of a patent it was granted back in 2016, and may not indicate the company’s current thinking.