Reports are coming out that Apple has filed an application for a US patent on a foldable electronic device with a flexible display this month, which would be the first indication that the Californian tech behemoth might be stepping up its pace of innovation again and could be working on ideas for a future iPhone to rival Samsung’s rumored foldable handset.
The patent application states that the technology they wish to protect is related to any kind of electronic device that has a display. In other words, it could be a “laptop computer, a tablet computer, a cellular telephone, a wristwatch, or other electronic devices (e.g., a portable device, handheld device, etc.).”
The patent goes on to say the future device "may have a hinge or other bendable joint."
Of all these possibilities, it seems most likely that Apple would be keen on installing a foldable screen into its popular smartphone.
Samsung has been working on a similar device for a while now, and ZTE even launched a foldable phone just last month, but so far none of those devices have been able to revolutionize the phone market.
Furthermore, Apple is yet to be granted this patent, and even if it gets it, it could be years before it ever makes use of it.
The company would, of course, have to rethink how people use their devices so as to retool the interface for maximum utility.
The news comes as a handy distraction to the rumors of further production delays to its highly popular iPhoneX, which has sold out worldwide.
KGI Securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo stated that the iPhone X delay is due to manufacturers’ production woes and not a lack of interest in Apple's new smartphone. In a research note to clients, he said that has said that suppliers have started producing key components much faster, allowing Apple to offer the iPhone X within a week of ordering.
Foxconn's production is now at 450,000-550,000 units per day compared to just 50,000-150,000 a month or two ago.