Rumors of a flexible iPhone have been swirling for months, with supply chain tipsters telling analysts that Apple has a bendy phone in the works for 2020. But now we have an idea of how a foldable iPhone could work, thanks to an Apple patent application published this month.
Thanks to increases in size and capacity, batteries have grown large enough to last an entire day with constant use. Apple’s patent application, published by Patently Apple, shows a flexible battery cell rolled up, so it looks like a flattened out cylinder. A second figure shows the battery unrolled. The battery may be integrated with the display so the two fold and unfold together.
According to Patently Apple, the display could be padded with graphite to address the problem of heat generated by a display-battery combination.
Apple isn't the only phone maker with a foldable device reportedly on the drawing board. Samsung has already confirmed it's working on a flexible phone, with some reports claiming that it would be out this year. (A leading parts supplier suggests that's unrealistic, however.)
MORE: iPhone X vs. Galaxy S9
Ship date aside, it's unclear how Samsung’s foldable Galaxy would work. Some have speculated that the device will fold in half, like a flip phone, or that it could unroll to become a larger 7.3-inch phone. Don’t expect it to be anything like ZTE’s Axon M, which technically folds in half but has a mechanical hinge with two screens on either side. Neither Samsung’s device nor Apple’s flexible iPhone are expected to take that approach.
The US Patent & Trademark Office filing spotted by Patently Apple is just an application, so the time frame on when Apple might roll out a product featuring this technology is up in the air.