Apple could abandon its rumoured foldable plans for a dual-screen iPhone or iPad, according to a patent filed by the company.
Rather than implementing a foldable display into its next mobile device, Apple may be considering going down a sturdier route with two individual displays.
The device would include a mechanism that allows the two displays to fold out and touch to create one seemingly seamless display.
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The displays “may use sensor measurements and other information to detect when an edge of a first electronic device is adjacent to an edge of a second electronic device”, explains the patent.
“In response to detection of adjacency between the edges of the first and second devices, the devices may transition from an independent operating mode in which each device operates separately to a joint operating mode in which resources of the devices are shared”.
Essentially, the device would be able to detect the two displays fitting together and transform them into one larger screen.
When the displays are flush together, the image will extend across both screens, cameras and sensors will be shared and speakers will split into multiple audio channels.
Magnets in the device may also be capable of holding the two displays together in a variety of orientations.
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By using two separate displays, Apple would avoid running into some of the issues manufacturers have encountered with foldables in recent years, including poor durability and potential long-term creases where the folding mechanism lies.
The device is reminiscent of the Surface Duo Microsoft previewed at its Surface event back in October. Apple’s dual-screen iPhone could be an iOS alternative to the sturdy Android newcomer.
It is important to note that Apple originally filed for the patent back in 2017 and companies often file for patents they do not follow through with, so there’s no guarantee that Apple will make a dual-screen phone or tablet anytime soon.
That said, it is interesting that Apple has considered the option. We’ll have to wait a bit longer to find out if the company does decide to make the iPhone 12 a dual-screen device.