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 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.
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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Oliver Haslam has written about Apple and the wider technology business for more than a decade with bylines on How-To Geek, PC Mag, iDownloadBlog, and many more. He has also been published in print for Macworld, including cover stories. At iMore, Oliver is involved in daily news coverage and, not being short of opinions, has been known to 'explain' those thoughts in more detail, too.
Having grown up using PCs and spending far too much money on graphics card and flashy RAM, Oliver switched to the Mac with a G5 iMac and hasn't looked back. Since then he's seen the growth of the smartphone world, backed by iPhone, and new product categories come and go. Current expertise includes iOS, macOS, streaming services, and pretty much anything that has a battery or plugs into a wall. Oliver also covers mobile gaming for iMore, with Apple Arcade a particular focus. He's been gaming since the Atari 2600 days and still struggles to comprehend the fact he can play console quality titles on his pocket computer.