Foldable phones are an innovative new gadget that could be the future of smartphones - but anyone who followed the Samsung Galaxy Fold debacle knows they can have huge durability issues. Well, it seems Apple might find a solution for its iPhone Flip.
Apple has been toying with the idea of a foldable phone (which could launch as the iPhone Flip or iPhone Fold) for a while now. We know this because of various leaks and patents that have emerged, and now there’s one more rumor to be added to the heap, as a new Apple patent aims to fix one of the biggest problems with foldable phones.
Spotted by Patently Apple, the patent was filed in April and published on October 27, 2020, and it details a protective layer for foldable screens, designed to prevent cracks.
This ‘hardcoat layer’ would both help defend against cracks forming, and also fill pre-existing micro-cracks, which is important since, as the patent notes, glass fractures tend to initiate from the presence of micro-cracks. So by filling them in the screen is less likely to break.
- Read our full iPhone 12 review
- See what we think of the Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 2
- Samsung's also launched the Galazy Z Flip
Foldable phones are typically more vulnerable to damage than normal smartphones due to all the moving parts, not to mention the flexible display, so adding some durability is important for buyers' piece of mind.
As ever with patents though, it’s worth noting that this won’t necessarily get used on a commercial product, it just means Apple is exploring the idea. We can’t be certain that the company will even launch a foldable phone, though it’s rumored that the company does have a foldable prototype.
But they’re still not mainstream devices, so Apple probably won’t be in any hurry to join the fray. More likely the iPhone 14 or 15 will be foldable, assuming Apple ever commits to the idea.
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James is a freelance phones, tablets and wearables writer and sub-editor at TechRadar. He has a love for everything ‘smart’, from watches to lights, and can often be found arguing with AI assistants or drowning in the latest apps. James also contributes to 3G.co.uk, 4G.co.uk and 5G.co.uk and has written for T3, Digital Camera World, Clarity Media and others, with work on the web, in print and on TV.