But not any time soon
2019 is the year of the folding phone, it would seem. Samsung is expected to reveal its folding Galaxy handset later today and Huawei, Motorola and Xiaomi are all working on similar devices. In fact, it’s quicker to list the companies that aren’t committed to the folding phone cause than those who are.
Apple was, many suspected, in the ‘thanks, but no thanks’ camp, but a new patent reveals that the company is at least exploring the possibility of creating a handset with a folding display.
Apple’s patent features folding displays and hinges which allow the device to fold in both directions; so it’s possible to fold the screen away to protect it but you can also fold the screen so that it ‘covers’ the entire device. This isn’t a million miles away from what other handset makers are coming up with.
Still, the patent comes with an assortment of images, many of which show the weird and wonderful ways in which Apple’s proposed folding phone can – erm – fold. One image shows the device in an inverted ‘V’, resting on a table so that two people can watch content on either side of the phone. It would seem that Apple is thinking about how a folding phone could be used, which is more than many other companies are doing.
As ever, a patent doesn’t automatically mean that Apple is making a folding phone; companies submit patents all of the time, and more often than not, these things never make it past the drawing board. Even if Apple is acting on this patent, it’s unlikely that it will get something out this year, which means it will miss the initial wave of hype surrounding folding phones in 2019. That might be too late to the party.
However, Apple has a track record of taking established ideas and make them work even better, and given the ergonomic nightmare that folding phones have the potential to be, our money would be on Apple turning this gimmicky concept into a workable reality.
Source: The Independent
Damien McFerran has been covering phones and mobile technology for well over a decade. An Android specialist, as well as an expert reviewer of phones, Damien is one of the best technology journalists working today. He is also editorial director over at the excellent Nintendo Life.