While the iPhone 7 only came out in September, rumours are already circulating about what Apple could have in store for future devices.
Today it has emerged that the firm has been awarded a new patent for a foldable iPhone concept.
Apple first began researching this technology in 2013, but the new patent suggests the firm is still serious about making foldable phones a reality in the future.
While the iPhone 7 only came out in September, rumours are already circulating about what Apple could have in store for future devices. Today it has emerged that the firm has been awarded a new patent for a foldable iPhone concept
The patent was filed on August 28, but was officially awarded to Apple today.
According to Patently Apple, Apple was able to keep the patent a secret by using an engineer’s name during the filing process.
But the patent itself uses the iPhone name, and shows several images depicting the iconic iPhone design, including the distinctive home button.
The patent suggests that the future iPhone will be made of glass, ceramic, fibre, aluminium or plastic – materials that are all currently used in devices.
But the patent also introduces a new material in the form of ‘carbon nanotubes’, that would allow the device to be folded down the middle.
The patent says: ‘Conductive carbon nanotube paths can form signal paths that are flexible and resistant to cracking.’
The tubes could be used in various parts of an iPhone, including portions of touch sensors, or in the camera.
It also states that the device ‘may have a hinge or other bendable joint.’
Samsung – one of Apple’s biggest rivals – has also been looking at foldable phone technology, and has a large number of patents for similar devices.
Apple was able to keep the patent a secret by using an engineer’s name during the filing process. But the patent itself uses the iPhone name, and shows several images depicting the iconic iPhone design, including the distinctive home button
This week, reports also suggest that future Apple devices will have wireless charging.
Foxconn Technology Group in New Taipei City, Taiwan is making wireless charging modules to go with Apple’s next iPhone, due for release in 2017, according to an industry source familiar with the matter, Nikkei has reported.
‘But whether the feature can eventually make it into Apple’s updated devices will depend on whether Foxconn can boost the yield rate to a satisfactory level later on,’ the source told Nikkei.
It is not clear whether Apple would offer a wireless charging plate, along the same lines as the one made by Samsung for its Galaxy S smartphones.
Apple is expected to unveil the most radical redesign ever of its flagship handset for the iPhone’s 10th anniversary in 2017. Pictured are two concept drawings.
But the unnamed employee told Business Insider that the iPhone 8 would be ‘different’ from previous handsets, which have been critiqued as being too similar.
If those rumours are true, the iPhone 8 could rival the Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge which came out in February this year. n January, Apple revisited a patent filed in 2013, which proposed a curved ‘glass’ case made from an intricate fusion of metals melted together.
The design – made from Bulk Amorphous Alloy, which is a mix of titanium, nickel, copper and zirconium melted together – is said to have the smooth texture of glass and the rigid sturdiness of rubber.
Despite widespread excitement over the unique design, it still hasn’t reached the general public.
Apple usually releases a new model, and then an ‘S’ version of that model the next year, so some people were expected an iPhone 7S to be released in 2017.
But the worker used the term ‘iPhone 8’ unprompted during the conversations, suggesting Apple may be skipping the 7S entirely.