Apple has filed a patent for its own foldable phone, and the ambitious design would have a more impressive screen than any of the devices we’ve seen so far.
The patent lodged at the office dictates a design that would have a screen crafted not from plastic, as for the Samsung Galaxy Fold and the Huawei Mate X, but instead would be made from strengthened glass, zirconia, or sapphire (reports BGR.com). This would surely give it the advantage of being far more resilient, but will no doubt pose a staggering technical design challenge.
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Resilience is not exactly the first quality that comes to mind when thinking of the first major foldable mobile device, the Samsung Galaxy Fold. While it certainly caught our attention for its innovation, within days of it being used the screens of several devices malfunctioned.
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Some cases were explained by the removal of a protective film from the delicate plastic AMOLED screen, so hopefully a glass-screened device would avoid this particular pitfall.
The Samsung Galaxy Fold has not yet been released to the general public despite a loud fanfare at launch. It was priced at a prohibitive £1800 ($1980) but still sold out at the pre-order stage; now Samsung is expected to cancel the purchases and refund all customers, having long missed the scheduled launch date of May in the UK.
The Huawei Mate X is still scheduled to launch in the summer of 2019, and we haven’t heard any negative reports of malfunctions yet. Therefore it stands to be the challenger if Apple is to release their own foldable phone. However, Apple is not expected to launch any foldable devices in 2019; instead the iPhone 11 is expected in the Autumn, and it will likely follow a similar design to its predecessors such as the iPhone XS and iPhone XR.