A new Apple patent offers a more detailed look at a potential foldable device. The patent is one of a whopping 66 Apple patents recently granted by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, and specifically describes techniques for the development of flexible cover sheets made of glass or some other ceramic material.
According to the patent, the proposed sheets would be able to bend without snapping or breaking in some other way due to internal pressure. To make a foldable device, the cover layer would be paired with a display layer, and have a defined foldable region. The sheets could be made of a continuous ceramic layer, and could extend to the exterior of a device to make it more resistance to scratches and impact.
The technology would allow Apple to create foldable iPads and other devices, either with a bi-fold or a tri-fold design. The patent was initially filed in the second quarter of 2019, while Apple previously received a similar patent in May of that same year. Apple was also granted a patent for a foldable iPhone in December of 2017.
While Apple has not yet announced any foldable devices, the fact that it is exploring the technology is not particularly surprising. Several device manufacturers are currently working towards (or working to improve) foldable devices, with Samsung leading the way after releasing the Galaxy Fold in the Spring of 2019 and following that up with the release of a new foldable smartphone last month. The new phone has been dubbed the Galaxy Z Flip.
In the meantime, tech companies are starting to develop products in anticipation of a foldable ecosystem. For example, Fingerprint Cards recently unveiled a new side-mounted touch sensor that can be integrated into foldable devices, while Samsung is working on novel app experiences that take foldable screens into account.
Source: Patently Apple