Foldable phones might make a comeback through Apple, a patent for a flexible phone granted on Tuesday shows.
The patent, filed in July 2014, shows Apple has been looking into a hinged iPhone model, but hints that it might be other “ electronic devices” as well. The patent for “flexible display devices” reveals a touchscreen phone with a flexible, metal-backed OLED display that can be folded in half and grip to a user’s clothes.
The Apple patent points out how screens could bend either towards each other or back-to-back. Additional hinges allow the device to be followed in different ways, even in thirds. T he sheet of flexible metal comprises nitinol, the document says.
“The hinges may include hinges based on a three-bar linkage, hinges based on a four-bar linkage, hinges with slotted members, hinges formed from flexible support structures, and hinges based on flexible housing structures. Flexible displays may be mounted to the housing portions overlapping the hinges.”
The patent also hints that Apple wants to create devices that hold onto clothing.
“Engagement structures may be used to help the housing grip external objects and to hold the housing portions in desired positions,” the patent says. “The hinges may also be provided with rotational detents to help hold the flexible display in desired positions.”
The patent also includes two-hinge designs, cover glass and viewing positions for the devices.
It is not for sure that Apple will create foldable devices, but the patent shows ideas Apple is exploring. Apple was granted a patent for a foldable phone earlier this month.