Apple appears to be moving along in its development of a foldable iPhone, according to new rumors. The company has apparently asked its Foxconn, its biggest iPhone supplier, to create two prototype foldable shells with displays.
As reported by Tom’s Guide on Sunday, which cites Taiwanese website United Daily News, Apple’s two prototypes reflect two very different approaches to foldable phones in the industry. Tom’s Guide states that one of the designs is similar to the Samsung Galaxy Z Flip, which let us remember has a flexible screen with crease in the middle and can be folded. The other is closer to Microsoft’s Surface Duo, the outlet notes, a device with two screens that resembles a book and is held together by a hinge.
It’s not clear whether Apple is working on two separate foldable phones or whether it’s testing various ideas for the final new type of iPhone, per Tom’s Guide.
Add that to a recent patent application published on Thursday by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office—which was filed in April of last year—and you can’t help but be extraordinary curious at what Apple’s up to in this area. The application, titled “Folding Electronic Devices With Geared Hinges,” describes a device that can be folded inwards and outwards.
“An electronic device has a foldable display. First and second portions of an electronic device housing for the device may be joined using a hinge. A flexible display may overlap the first housing portion and the second housing portion and may bend along a bend axis as the first and second housing portions are rotated relative to each other using the hinge,” the abstract reads.
This isn’t Apple’s first patent application that seems related to foldable phones, though, and probably won’t be the last. It’s also filed a patent application for a self-healing display as well as one that allows two screens to work seamlessly as one when they’re close to each other.
Just because the company has filed patents and because the rumor mill is buzzing doesn’t mean that any of the ideas or designs are a done deal. Some might never get made. Although we believe that Apple will eventually make a foldable phone, it could end up being way different than anything we’ve speculated about when it finally does get here. Yet, it never hurts to imagine the possibilities.