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New Apple patent reveals a foldable iPhone!

With a recently registered patent, Apple takes another step towards the folding screens era and confirms interest in the area and, in addition, corrects the competition's errors.

Patent registration is often a good indicator of what to expect in the future of technological giants. A good example of this Sony, which showed interest in backwards compatibility for PS5 (news that came months later), and the Samsung, which has already hinted at a Galaxy Tab "Fold". Now the Apple register a new patent that few expected.

Registered in the United States Patent and Trademark Office, the patent for foldable screen proposes to solve problems present in the current technology that we see in the competition. A detail noticed by many (including us) is the crease present in the partition of the Galaxy Fold, a problem that was much worse in the initial version which was due to be released in April 2019.

"IFold"

According to the discovery of the site AppleInsider, Apple intends to work on the life of the screen of its folding device with the adoption of a hinge mechanism, which may include retractable panels. The movable flaps would open when the device unfolded (to cover the gap between the two parts of the screen lining) and retract when the gadget folded up.

Thus, since the tabs would be able to cover the space between the screen protection when the device is unfolded, this suggests that a device using this folding mechanism almost would not have crease when unfolded. This is a big evolution when compared to the designs of the aforementioned Samsung.

Apple Fold Foldable iPhonePatent illustration showing how the radius (R) of the screen is increased, without creating creases (Reproduction)

When folding the screen in this way, the stress on what would be the crease is almost zero, since the radius of the fold increases due to the separation of the flaps. However, it is worth noting: the outside of the screen at the rear of the device, but the protection for the screen. In the illustration above we can see the thickness of the screen compared to the protection, which only makes it clear that it is a ?second layer?, and not the external part of the device.

The document with the date of yesterday (02/02) also compiles how the movement of other parts would be. Inside, the hinge manages the movement of the screen to bend (device folded), using a empty seo to give the screen the space needed for the radius of the curve to increase. A gear mechanism can help to maintain distance from the housing and the screen each extra ?non-foldable? element, in addition to reinforcing the radius of curvature.

?But wouldn't the empty space make the canvas unusable??, You ask. Apple has the solution: when the device is open, the tabs can be internally extended to support the screen, to avoid any problems if you press an area that may affect the position of the screen. The space also prevents tension from being more than is necessary for normal use.

Apple Fold Foldable iPhoneInternal mechanism that avoids stress and still makes the screen perfectly usable, even with an empty space inside (Reproduction)

Along the record there are still other 46 images showing the application of the mechanism with the screen in different states / angulations, with very detailed descriptions for each part

Apple enter the Folding Era?

Apple registers several patent applications every week just check the American website itself. However, the registration of foldable technology is not an explicit confirmation that the company is working on launching a public-type device, just an area of ??interest developed by the company.

To give you an idea, a version of the patent we cited throughout this text was initially filed at 2016 is at 2018 there was a very explicit record named "Electronic devices with flexible screens", which explained the way that a screen can have elements that assist in folding, such as the protection that could be made by other flexible materials (and not fixed, as shown above).

Bizarrely, there was even a patent for zigzag folding and, even in 2018, one for a foldable battery. In 2019 they also made a patent for "foldable area protection against temperature change", the company's first hinge. And the list doesn?t end there, because months later a magnetic lock it would enable action, instead of the various gears of the 2020 patent.

Apple Fold Foldable iPhoneFolding in detail, with the appliance open (Reproduction)

As much as the whole mechanism is at an advanced level, which is great when dealing with technological evolution, this can be a shot in the foot of Apple itself, because in practice it adds complexity to the devices. Imagining a mass production of iPhones with dozens of gears can please you because it sounds quite steampunk, but highly costly. That is, if they invest in collapsible, they are unlikely to follow exactly that line.

In the meantime, what remains for us to be attentive to the competition of folding screens and see if Apple will take its first step and hope that it does not arrive here for 13 thousand reais and does not sell out in 24 hours, like another product.

Source: Tom?s Guide

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