Apple envisions a future where you can fold up your iPhone and put it in your pocket.
|Apple is working on a foldable iPhone.|
The Cupertino, Calif.-based firm was granted a patent Tuesday for a foldable iPhone, first reported by AppleInsider. The device would have a flexible organic light-emitting diode (OLED) screen that would fold in half, similar to the clamshell smartphones of yesteryear.
The metal support structure surrounding the screen might be built with nitinol, a nickel and titanium alloy known for its elasticity and shape memory abilities, per AppleInsider. Apple also suggested alternatives, such as flexible polymers.
The two halves of the phone would attach via a single- or multi-shaft hinge mechanism that supports rotational motion. The connections would pend on flexible printed circuit boards.
One version of the design suggests the smartphone's screen will fold over onto itself, offering additional protection from droppage and the elements. Another configuration proposed that the display could face outward after folding and could be operated from this position. The application also said that the device could clip onto a user's clothing.
Apple applied for this patent back in July 2014, but the company frequently applies for patents that never yield any marketable products. Any movement toward a foldable iPhone will likely be years in the future.
The company reportedly already has three new iPhones in the works for 2017, per MacRumors. Two of the new models will be different sized devices with LCD screens – 4.7-inch and 5.5-inch displays. The third model will have a OLED screen. Both the 5.5-inch LCD model and the OLED model will have dual cameras.
The company is desperately looking for something new to encourage Apple fans to buy new phones. As iPhone prices have shot up, sales have slowed down. The iPhone 7’s suggested retail price starts at $649, which is expensive in the U.S. and nearly unaffordable in emerging markets. Apple sold 45.51 million iPhones in its recent fourth quarter, down 5 percent from the same time period last year. The company said in July that iPhone units sales were down 8 percent during the third quarter compared with the same period last year.
Still, the company is expecting robust holiday sales. The company delivered a bullish holiday forecast, saying it expected to pull in $76 billion to $79 billion in sales, slightly higher than analyst expectations. The surge will be due, in part, to the failed launch of Samsung’s Note 7, which were recalled due to exploding devices.
Apple has two stores in Orlando and one in Altamonte Springs.