Apple Patent Confirms It Is Still Working On Folding iPhone or iPad

Apple is still beavering away on folding designs for the iPhone of the future, an update to its existing folding device patent reveals. The latest tweak to the patent was filed on February 14 and suggests that the company is still working on concepts for a foldable iPhone or iPad.

The timing is amusing, but little more than that, because Samsung is announcing its folding phone next week along with the new range of Galaxy S10 devices. It’s predicted that while we’ll see a final design for the folding Galaxy, it won’t actually go on sale straight away – the same for the 5G version of Samsung’s new range.

Those devices are more likely to arrive in the summer – perhaps with the idea of spoiling Apple’s next generation iPhone launch.

So what’s going on with Apple’s folding phone patent update? Well, it looks there’s a couple of ideas. One shows off a concept that gives two people a view of the device bent into a sort of pyramid shape. Clearly a way for two people to watch a TV show or movie at the same time, or perhaps enjoy two-player games.

Games and video for two people on one device could be a big selling point for an iPad-sized deviceAPPLE/USPO

There’s also a lot of interesting things about the mechanics of how a folding screen would work. There’s an image which shows of a sprung mechanism that accommodates the screen moving as the device is bent.

The mechanism allows the phone to fold and protects the displayAPPLE/USPO

I think what’s clear here is that there is, perhaps, no clear idea yet what sort of form a folding device from Apple might be. It could be an iPhone, an iPad or perhaps even a new kind of Macbook. Apple is clearly devising solutions and patenting those to ensure it has the rights to build them.

And it perhaps doesn’t need to be said that patent portfolios are a huge part of revenue generation for many companies. Qualcomm being one of the best examples of this, a company that makes nothing itself but which is profitable thanks to the money it invests in R&D.

But time for a little personal opinion on this, because I don’t think we’ll see a folding iPhone soon. Why do I think that? Well because I don’t actually think most of the folding phones that will arrive this year are going to be that useful, or sell especially well.

You only have to look at rumours of Apple’s 5G plans to see that the firm isn’t rushing along with everyone else. Demand for folding phones, as with 5G, will take a while to build. In that time Apple can perfect its devices and ensure that when it does finally announce something it will be worth owning.

Of course I’m excited about the Samsung folding phone and I’m intrigued by the rumours that suggest the Motorola Razr would be making a comeback. More than anything I feel like a well-designed clamshell phone would offer people an exciting new kind of device. After all, before smartphones these were the devices to own.

[“source=forbes”]

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