If there is one trend that will dominate the year 2019, it has to be smartphones with foldable displays. While Samsung Galaxy Fold was launched at the South Korean giant’s Unpacked event on February 20, MWC 2019 saw the launch of Huawei Mate X. Xiaomi, another Chinese smartphone maker is not too far behind in the race of foldable phones.
These phones are all about screens. When folded, they look like a regular smartphone, but when unfolded they turn into a tablet. That, in fact, is a distinguishing feature between the old foldable phones and the new ones. It is true that they are very expensive, but many think that the future of smartphones is ‘folded’.
Just like the strategy it has adopted with 5G connectivity, Apple is sitting and observing the playing field in the game of foldable smartphones as well. We should mention that following this strategy is nothing new for Apple as it waits for the market of a certain new technology to gain speed and heat up before it enters the market with its ‘new’ product. Currently, Apple is not sitting idle as they too are finding new ways to develop their own foldable device.
Earlier today, the US Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) published a patent application filed by Apple. The application lists out details and solutions about the foldable smartphone which might get damaged with prolonged use of the foldable phone. Apple points out that the display of the foldable phone might break or get damage from the changes in the weather (heat and cold).
The published USPTO patent states that, “An electronic device may have a hinge that allows the device to be flexed about a bend axis. A display may span the bend axis. To facilitate bending about the bend axis without damage when the display is cold, a portion of the display that overlaps the bend axis may be selectively heated. The portion of the display that overlaps the bend axis may be self-heated by illuminating pixels in the portion of the display that overlap the bend axis or may be heated using a heating element or other heating structure that provides heat to the portion of the display overlapping the bend axis. Control circuitry may engage a latching mechanism that previous opening and closing of the electronic device when the temperature of the portion of the display that overlaps the bend axis is below a predetermined temperature.”
The patent further describes the foldable smartphone, the problems it might face and their solutions. It is possible that we might see a foldable smartphone from Apple as well in the near future. But it is unknown to us when exactly the Cupertino based technology company will jump in the foldable phone race.