The US Patent and Trademark office granted a second patent to Apple for the company’s foldable device. According to Patently Apple, the second patent is targeted for a new flexible hinge and its housing fabric that Apple intends to incorporate in its folding iPhone. In November 2016, the company received the first patent to develop its original foldable smartphone that described an electronic device with a flexible portion and a flexible display with bending region. The patent application also covered all types of displays such as OLED, LCD, and microLED.
In the second patent, Apple covers a range of claims that define additions to the original invention with the main focus on flexible hinge. As reported in Patently Apple, the second patent claims describe how first and second housing portions of an electronic device will comprise a flexible hinge between them, while its housing comprises fabric.
With the introduction of larger phablet sizes in smartphones, the report cited, introducing a folding smartphone will make sense at a point, considering the emergence of 5G networks and mobile TV.
The patent claim further includes a third display portion which overlaps the flexible portion of the housing. According to the report, Apple is looking forward to have the topside of the foldable iPhone to act as a third display when it closes, stating that it is a very interesting addition.
Other smartphone makers have also been rumored to be working on the similar projects. In 2015, LG had a patent application for a folding smartphone while Microsoft applied for 2-in-1 foldable device that can function as a phone as well as a tablet.
Leading companies such as Samsung is said to have restarted developing inward-folding smartphones which is anticipated to be debut at Samsung’s Developer Conference in November. Huawei, the Chinese electronics giant is also said to be getting ready to be first to launch a foldable smartphone in November. While Apple recently released the iPhone XS Max with largest display size on any iPhone with 6.5 inch OLED, the timeline for launch of its foldable smartphone is anticipated to be in 2020.