Apple’s foldable phone patents keep piling up like broken MacBook keyboards at their Genius Bar. At this point, we can easily assume that Apple will be releasing a foldable phone.
The new patent also describes a device that can be folded not once but two times and the mixed-use of flexible material covering for the flexible part on the hinge and even glass-like hard parts for the flat sides of the display. But the patent doesn’t discuss if this is for a phone, a tablet, or both.
The Cupertino company got awarded a patent for a flexible battery in March 2018. In October of the same year, the US Patent and Trademark Office published a new patent for a magnetic latch that would keep the phone closed without any physical mechanism.
Apple patented a Motorola Razr-like vertical foldable phone last February and in March, it got yet another one, and today we have learned about one more, one that proposes a form factor similar to the Samsung Galaxy Fold.
Why a foldable iPhone?
The Candybar phone has turned into a commodity. The market sales numbers are pretty clear. There’s no way around that and all the manufacturers know it. Thus the need for something new, a form factor that starts another gold rush — perhaps the last phone gold rush before we get the Next Big Thing That Is Not Going To Be a Phone.
That’s why all the big and small players which also include Apple are developing foldable devices. So far there is the Samsung Galaxy Fold, the Huawei Mate X, the Motorola Razr, the Xiaomi Mi Fold, the Oppo foldable, the ZTE foldable, and the LG Foldable.
The new generation consumes media and plays video games on mobile devices, which is why people like Sony’s CEO Kenichiro Yoshida say the company must stay in this market and succeed. Foldable phones can deliver a better watch and play experience without compromising the portability of the device.
So perhaps the question now is that not if Apple will release such a device, but when? That may be just leapfrogging the category entirely and go straight to the Next Big Thing.