While You Weren’t Looking Apple Patents a Phone that Folds like a Book

iphone that opens like a book
image courtesy of @AaronAMason

Well, that’s different! A flip phone that folds like a book is coming your way.

We all know that Apple has been putting the ‘i’ into innovation branding their products with the 9th letter of our alphabet along while incorporating groundbreaking designs and features. On Thanksgiving, the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) released a patent application describing the company’s vision of creating a phone that can be “opened and closed like a book.” Still, the description of this phone seems more like a tablet and Apple is rumored to be collaborating with LG to perfect the screen technology. Samsung’s obsession with flip phone-like mobile devices indicates a desire for Apple to move in a similar direction. The only solid idea of a viable product thus far is the patent itself but the iMoguls down at Apple probably want to compete with Samsung’s prototype set to be demonstrated early next year.

Apple’s first patent with this technology was filed in Europe of 2013. However, it wasn’t until last year that they became more transparent about their foldable designs after their application was approved by the USPTO. And just last month Korean business news outlet, The Investor, said that Apple is already developing one with a regional producer.  This newest application may be an improvement on previous designs but that’s the thing…there’s a lot of maybes. Just taking a quick look at the application’s abstract describes an idea that is still very much in the works:

An electronic device may have a flexible portion that allows the device to be folded. The device may have a flexible display. The flexible display may have a flexible display layer, a cover layer, a touch sensor interposed between the flexible display layer and the cover layer, a support layer, and a polarizer layer.

For more specifics on this, read the application here.

One of the most exciting revelations of this technology is its use of “shape memory alloy or amorphous metal [that] may have openings to facilitate bending.” Sometimes referred to as ‘bulk metal glass,’ it is a liquid metal based on alloys of nickel, titanium, iron etc. This sounds flexible as if you’ll be folding your phone like mentally bending a spoon. But make no mistake, Apple is already discovering ways to prevent damage through possible reinforcement via carbon fibers, carbide fibers or boron filaments. We will just have to stay tuned to find out more.

I’m not sure this is what the public expected from Apple but it seems to be taken very seriously. Really, who would’ve thought that the concept of flip phones would still be a thing? Maybe it’s time for this outdated technology to be revisited, revised and make a comeback.

What do you guys really think about Apple’s latest ‘phone book?’ Could you picture yourself with such a device? Let us know what you think by dropping us a note!


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