Apple is reportedly beavering away on a foldable iPhone to join the fray alongside the Galaxy Z Flip, and Galaxy Fold, and it looks set to avoid Samsung's Galaxy Fold snafu with a new patent revealing a super tough screen.
Samsung struggled with its first foldables screen integrity (along with the hinge), but by watching on the side-lines rather than rushing to get in on the smartphone trend, Apple is set to be in a much stronger position when it does finally launch the device.
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The last patent we saw laid out plans for a clamshell foldable with a small external display, which was brought to life in a video thanks to ConceptsiPhone (opens in new tab) and is featured above.
The latest one (opens in new tab), spotted by Patently Apple (opens in new tab) (via Tom's Guide (opens in new tab)), describes a durable display designed to "resist cracking at the fold mark." It sets out to solve a common hurdle of the form factor that Apple says is caused by the presence of micro cracks in the glass.
The hardcoat layer detailed in the patent is designed to fill those cracks, and act as a protective coating that's puncture and scratch resistant.
It's described as not being "as strong (lower elastic modulus) and not as tough (lower scratch resistance)" as the "transparent support substrate" below it, which it highlights as being "counterintuitive" to the traditional approach of having the top layer being made from the "strongest and toughest materials"; but the hardcoat layer will do the job of protecting the more brittle layer underneath.
Apple has already kicked things up a notch on the iPhone 12 with its new Ceramic Shield glass, that's much tougher than last year's iPhone 11 screen.
YouTube channel MobileReviewsEh (opens in new tab) pit the two devices against one another, and the iPhone 12 withstood 100 extra newtons of force before it cracked compared to the iPhone 11. On the scratch front, they were fairly similar.
Whether it's called the iPhone 13 Flip, or a separate series with the moniker of iPhone Flip/ Fold, it sounds like Apple fans are going to be in for a premium product that will be more than equipped to take on the competition.
Source: Tom's Guide (opens in new tab)