Folding phones have become a reality last year, and this year they are starting to get mainstream, with handsets such as the Motorola Razr, Samsung Galaxy Z Flip and the upcoming Samsung Galaxy Fold 2.
As usual, Apple is rather slow to adopt new technology, but they usually get there eventually.
A new patent published today for an “Electronic devices with flexible displays and hinges” shows that Apple is not quite ready for flexible screens yet, but may be developing a dual-pane device like the Surface Duo.
The abstract reads:
An electronic device may have a flexible display that overlaps an axis. The display may be supported by a housing. The housing may have first and second portions that rotate relative to each other about the axis. The housing may be placed in an unfolded configuration to support the display in a planar state. The housing may also be placed in a folded configuration by rotating the first and second portions relative to each other. A hinge mechanism may be used to ensure adequate separation between the first and second portions when the housing is bent. Movable flaps may be retracted when the housing is bent to create room for a bent portion of the display.
The technology would approximate the two panes when fully open to create a near-seamless tablet, but without the bumps and creases which has been troubling flexible-screen devices.
Interestingly Microsoft was also working on technology which made the seam between the two panes of the Surface Duo less obvious, but in the end, chose not to implement what is still somewhat of a kludge.
It would be interesting to see if Apple releases their own version of the Surface Neo, or if they will wait till they are ready with a folding phone with a proper flexible screen.
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