Apple continues to develop the technology needed to create the first foldable iPhone. Most of them are detailed in the company’s patents. A patent application released today reveals the hinge mechanism of the upcoming foldable iPhone.
The first figure in the patent shows a folding device bent at right angles. It is noteworthy that the figure shows a completely new design of a multi-link hinge with several pivot joints.
This is just one type of hinge that Apple is investigating. The text of the patent application teaches that the pivot mechanisms may include gears, belts, and other structures designed to synchronize movement and elements that move relative to each other during bending.
Stretchable and retractable displays are also mentioned in the patent. It is stated that a device with cabinet designs that fold, stretch, or unwind can provide users with more screen space while maintaining a compact device size. It is noteworthy that Apple does not limit the scope of applying the technologies described in the patent to smartphones. They are reported to be useful in tablets, laptops, smart glasses, and more. The images showing the smartphone are just an example, the patent says.
Among other things, the patent discusses how the hinge structure can remove some of the force from the foldable display. Their implementation is intended to make flexible devices more durable. Recall that Apple has already received a batch of Samsung flexible screens for prototyping folding iPhones. The company is expected to show the first such devices at the end of 2022.