Apple envisions a foldable iPhone with patent

Apple envisions a foldable iPhone with patent thumbnail

Is there a folding iPhone in the future? 

Angela Lang/CNET

Apple might be joining the folding-phone craze. A patent now held by the iPhone maker shows a design for a “flexible display” that appears to be similar to some of the upcoming foldable phones such as the Galaxy Z Flip and Motorola Razr

On Tuesday, the US Patent and Trademark Office published a patent filed by Apple titled “Electronic devices with flexible displays and hinges.” The patent abstract describes the flexible display as being able to fold and unfold with a hinge mechanism to make sure there’s adequate space between the folding portions of the display. 

Apple folding patent

An image from the patent showing the folding device.

US Patent and Trademark Office

Even with the existence of the patent, it’s unclear if this could lead to a future device for Apple. The iPhone maker filed a similar patent for a folding device with a clamshell design last February. Analysts predicted Apple could make a folding iPad sometime in 2021, but the company has yet to show any sign of it coming to fruition. 

Apple didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment.

Originally published Feb. 5, 8:40 a.m. PT.

Update, 9:17 a.m. PT: Adds additional background details.

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