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Apple is developing a foldable iPhone with a self-healing display

Published May 21st, 2024 11:47AM EDT
Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 5
Image: José Adorno for BGR

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The foldable iPhone might have a breakthrough self-healing display technology. According to Patently Apple, the US Patent and Trademark Office granted Cupertino 51 new utility patents, including this one, where Apple explains how a display cover layer may include a layer with self-healing properties.

Apple has been exploring a foldable iPhone for a few years, and rumors suggest we might see this device unveiled sometime between 2026 and 2027. The company has been testing foldable panels and hinges in partnership with Samsung and other manufacturers to find a way to stand out from the competition, as the current technology is very fragile and doesn’t meet Apple’s standards.

Per this new patent, the self-healing material could be used on the entire display or only in the flexible regions of the display cover layer, which is where most manufacturers have issues. Interestingly, self-healing technology occurs after the coating is dented and can start when heat, light, or electric current is applied to it.

Here’s how Apple describes the patent:

Self-healing may occur in the layer of self-healing material without prompting (e.g., when the self-healing coating is dented, the material of the coating may fill the dent even without external intervention). Alternatively, the self-healing may be initiated or expedited by externally applied heat, light, electric current, or other type of external stimulus.

When heat is used as a stimulus for the self-healing process, the display cover layer may include transparent conductors that form a heating layer in the display cover layer. The heating layer may be used to generate heat to stimulate self-healing. The heating layer may be used to generate heat in response to user input, according to a predetermined schedule, or when the electronic device is charging.

It’s important to note that this is only a patent. It doesn’t mean this technology could be available with a future foldable iPhone. However, it’s nice to see Apple is exploring several possibilities. Below, you can learn more about a future foldable iPhone.

José Adorno Tech News Reporter

José is a Tech News Reporter at BGR. He has previously covered Apple and iPhone news for 9to5Mac, and was a producer and web editor for Latin America broadcaster TV Globo. He is based out of Brazil.