Apple's foldable iPhone has been a possibility since 2017 when word first got out about the device. We haven't seen or heard anything from Apple since then, and while it's been sitting out during the introduction of foldable smartphones brought about by the Galaxy Fold, Motorola Razr, and Galaxy Z Flip, Apple could very well be biding its time while it cooks up a doozy.
While the tech giant has kept quiet, we have seen official patents circulating which have lead to a number of slick-looking fan renders - like the one of the iPhone Flip below - and yet another patent has been spotted, lending even more weight to the impeding release of a foldable iPhone.
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BGR spotted the new patent application for a "foldable electronic device with exposed display region" that elaborates on the design, demonstrating how Apple will be tailoring its approach in terms of displaying notifications while the handset is closed.
The patent states that foldable devices can be "inconvenient to use" and sets out to remedy the issues it raises with the "exposed display" area:
"If care is not taken, foldable devices may be inconvenient to use. For example, device functions may be inaccessible to a user when a foldable device is in its folded configuration."
With its suggested configuration, laid out below, notifications and any additional information would be displayed on the exposed portion of screen (labelled 14P).
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As always, the existence of a patent doesn't guarantee that we'll ever see the final product launch, but noted Twitter leaker Jon Prosser has said that Apple is working on a foldable phone that "isn’t really a foldable. The current prototype has two separate display panels on a hinge. Round, stainless steel edges like current iPhone 11 design. No notch — tiny forehead on outter display that houses Face ID."
It doesn't look like it'll release this year, but we can't imagine Apple will wait too long to step into the fray or it'll miss out on a chunk of the market that its rivals are already up to their necks in, and improving their tech with each iteration.