More early details about Apple's folding iPhone revealed

Posted:
in Future Apple Hardware edited October 7
Continued patent filings prove that Apple is pursuing a folding iPhone design that would utilize a sliding body, with a flexible screen.

Mockup of a folding or expanding iPhone (Source: William Gallagher)
Mockup of a folding or expanding iPhone (Source: William Gallagher)


Apple has applied for many patents regarding aspects of what could become a folding iPhone, and it's been granted many, too. One such granted patent, however, was "Electronic devices having sliding expandable displays" -- and Apple has just updated it.

Now once again filed as a patent application, the same title, written by the same three inventors, is a subtle doubling down on some key details of the idea. It's also an expansion on some parts, and overall could suggest that Apple is clearer on what it intends to produce.

The core of the patent, and now patent application, remains the same.

"Electronic devices often include displays," says Apple. "A touch screen display may be used in a cellular telephone or other portable device to display information for a user and to gather user input."

"If care is not taken, a display may not offer sufficient screen real estate to display information of interest to a user," it continues. "At the same time, it can be difficult to enlarge the size of electronic devices too much to accommodate larger displays, because this can make devices too bulky."

The original version then specifies that this proposal is for a device that has opposing front and rear faces." That could mean either a book-like device that opens out, or it could mean a separate screen on two sides of an iPhone.

In comparison, the updated version avoids that ambiguity, and adds in a wider, more encompassing range of possibilities. It says the electronic device would have "a housing configured to move between an expanded state and an unexpanded state."

Repeatedly, the updated version pulls back on previous detail to make the scope of the patent application broader. For instance, a section describing "a flexible substrate configured to support an array of pixels," has gone.

All of the drawing in the new version are as before, however, and so is the overall description of what Apple is proposing. It describes a folding iPhone, where expanding, or opening up the display, means revealing a previously hidden screen.

An expanded screen could be pulled out of the side of an iPhone when needed
An expanded screen could be pulled out of the side of an iPhone when needed


"A portion of a flexible display may be stored in an interior region of the housing when the housing is in the unexpanded state," continues Apple. "In the unexpanded state, the flexible display may have one or more bends and may double back on itself one or more times."

It's too much to infer that Apple has based these revisions on what it has found during testing with prototypes. But it's not too much to conclude that this particular sliding proposal is getting attention because it's in the running to ultimately become a product.

As before, this version is credited to three inventors. That includes Michael B. Wittenberg, whose other related work includes a proposal that such a folding iPhone could use geared hinges.

Read on AppleInsider

Comments

  • Reply 1 of 7
    lkrupplkrupp Posts: 9,636member
    "Apple has applied for many patents regarding aspects of what could become a folding iPhone, and it's been granted many, too”

    Steve Jobs claimed Apple had patented the iPhone to the hilt and would go thermonuclear on anyone trying to copy it. But the iPhone to this day is copied by everybody. Apple apparently files for and receives thousands of patents every year.

    So why does every Tom, Dick, Harry, and Mary Jane sue Apple every chance they get? If a folding iPhone is ever released there will be lawsuits galore. I know it, you know it, the whole world knows it. 
    lorca2770F_Kent_DDAalsethwilliamlondonwatto_cobra
  • Reply 2 of 7
    lkrupp said:
    "Apple has applied for many patents regarding aspects of what could become a folding iPhone, and it's been granted many, too”

    Steve Jobs claimed Apple had patented the iPhone to the hilt and would go thermonuclear on anyone trying to copy it. But the iPhone to this day is copied by everybody. Apple apparently files for and receives thousands of patents every year.

    So why does every Tom, Dick, Harry, and Mary Jane sue Apple every chance they get? If a folding iPhone is ever released there will be lawsuits galore. I know it, you know it, the whole world knows it. 
    Well, we all know by now that Patents are broke dick and harry….and Apple have tons of $ to spare. So happy Sues are knocking everywhere, patented or not.
  • Reply 3 of 7
    lkrupp said:
    "Apple has applied for many patents regarding aspects of what could become a folding iPhone, and it's been granted many, too”

    Steve Jobs claimed Apple had patented the iPhone to the hilt and would go thermonuclear on anyone trying to copy it. But the iPhone to this day is copied by everybody. Apple apparently files for and receives thousands of patents every year.

    So why does every Tom, Dick, Harry, and Mary Jane sue Apple every chance they get? If a folding iPhone is ever released there will be lawsuits galore. I know it, you know it, the whole world knows it. 
    You know Apple has lost several patent lawsuits, right? People have sued them for infringement and won and Apple has tried to sue others for infringement and lost. That's always going to be a hurdle for them because they are not creators but rather innovators...the difference being that creators bring new things and innovators try to improve on the existing. Apple did not create the first smartphone which really makes the iPhone itself a copy, so they've done exactly what your complaining other manufacturers do...
    edited October 7 williamlondon
  • Reply 4 of 7
    crowleycrowley Posts: 9,120member
    It was MultiTouch that Steve Jobs said “and boy have we patented it” about. And other phone interfaces stayed clear of some of the specific MultiTouch interfaces, like pinch to zoom, for a long time.  It worked.
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 5 of 7
    maestro64maestro64 Posts: 5,022member
    First we all know Apple has  lots of patents for ideas which have not see light of day, we are still waiting on the thought the display finger ID, or the camera built into the actual display not pin hole in the display they use today. I personally would not hold your breath on this one.

    Those who said that the iPhone has been copied and Apple has not gone after companies, keep in mind you can’t patent the industrial design of the phone, Steve tried with the whole curves and radius thing but companies got around that, most of the real importance ones they won, but they are probably 50/50 on most cases and there are plenty we never heard about. Most of the ones they lost were to patent trolls non practicing entities.
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 6 of 7
    dewmedewme Posts: 3,946member
    Most large companies build up large/huge patent portfolios as a form of defensive arsenal against future attacks from trolls, rivals, and non practicing entities, whether or not the IP is incorporated into their products. These portfolios can also serve as bargaining chips and effectively a form of currency. I’ve personally seen the cross licensing of IP used to mutually resolve IP conflicts between industry rivals that would otherwise end up in very lengthy and expensive litigation. 
    edited October 8 watto_cobra
  • Reply 7 of 7
    MacProMacPro Posts: 19,428member
    NinjaMan said:
    lkrupp said:
    "Apple has applied for many patents regarding aspects of what could become a folding iPhone, and it's been granted many, too”

    Steve Jobs claimed Apple had patented the iPhone to the hilt and would go thermonuclear on anyone trying to copy it. But the iPhone to this day is copied by everybody. Apple apparently files for and receives thousands of patents every year.

    So why does every Tom, Dick, Harry, and Mary Jane sue Apple every chance they get? If a folding iPhone is ever released there will be lawsuits galore. I know it, you know it, the whole world knows it. 
    You know Apple has lost several patent lawsuits, right? People have sued them for infringement and won and Apple has tried to sue others for infringement and lost. That's always going to be a hurdle for them because they are not creators but rather innovators...the difference being that creators bring new things and innovators try to improve on the existing. Apple did not create the first smartphone which really makes the iPhone itself a copy, so they've done exactly what your complaining other manufacturers do...
    Wtf?  Please detail what smart phone the iPhone copied.  
    williamlondonwatto_cobra
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