ConceptsiPhone 12 Flip ConceptSource: ConceptsiPhone

What you need to know

  • Apple has been granted a patent relating to a foldable device.
  • The patent is for a foldable design that won't crack.
  • It still doesn't mean that there's guaranteed to be a foldable device any time soon, though.

Apple has been granted a new patent that could hold the key to a foldable iPhone launching at some point in the future, although I wouldn't want to say when.

The new patent is number 10,817,016 and is titled "Hybrid coverlay/window structure for flexible display applications."

Discovered by Patently Apple, the newly approved patent relates to an issue that could see a foldable's display cracking. The patent specifically mentions a new protective layer that should help keep things in one piece.

Apple's granted patent is focused on correcting display cracking issues found in foldable devices today from Samsung and others which has definitely turned off consumers to the whole idea of foldable smartphones. Apple's patent specifically relates to protective cover layer structures for smartphones, and more particularly for flexible displays that could fold while being crack resistant.

Apple says that the layer is designed to help protect the screen beneath it, preventing it from suffering from micro-cracks that would otherwise be an issue.

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Apple Foldable Protection PatentSource: Patently Apple

The Patently Apple piece has more details about how the patent's protective layer would work – but as ever it's important to remember that Apple applies for tons of patents. Not all of them turn into products.

It does stand to reason that Apple is at least considering foldable iPhones and this patent would suggest that as well. Just don't get your hopes up for one being announced just yet. Apple won't enter the foldable market until it's confident it can deal with the main pain points – and cracking screens is just one of them.

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