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This is what a foldable iPhone with a clamshell design might look like

Published Feb 19th, 2019 9:03PM EST
Foldable iPhone design
Image: LetsGoDigital

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At least as far as the tech press is concerned, all eyes are on Samsung tomorrow, as it seems poised to finally unveil its first foldable smartphone — which will apparently be called the Galaxy Fold — at the company’s Galaxy S10 event set for Wednesday. And it’s not just Samsung, of course.

A slew of other smartphone manufacturers including Huawei, Xiaomi, LG, Oppo and Motorola likewise have foldable phones teed up in some stage of development. And as we reported in recent days, the same goes for Apple, for which a patent was just published covering “Flexible Display Devices” — an outgrowth of Apple’s study of this form factor the iPhone maker has actually been pursuing for a few years now.

Regarding the possibility of a foldable iPhone, Dutch tech blog LetsGoDigital has taken sketches depicted in the new Apple patent that was just published on the USPTO’s website and prepared a set of color renders showing what this dramatically different iPhone would look like in real life.

In the patent documentation, there are images showing foldable devices with two or three displays, as well as one or two hinges that would let the user fold the handset. The images also suggest that Apple is considering both iPhones that would fold inwards as well as outwards. From that, here’s what LetsGoDigital imagines such an iPhone might look like, along with the render you can see at the top of this post:

Image source: LetsGoDigital

This, of course, is pretty much the extent of what we have to go on for now. While the other companies we mentioned as prepping foldable phones haven’t been as aggressive in keeping their ambitions secret, Apple no surprise seems to be sticking to its well-known practice of keeping things pretty closely held until they’re ready to be announced. For its part, LetsGoDigital suspects that Apple will probably introduce a 5G smartphone first and then prep an iPhone and/or iPad that you can fold for release the year after that.

“It would be desirable to be able to use flexible display technology to provide improved electronic devices,” Apple writes in its patent documentation. Of course, it’s important to point out that there’s nothing solid suggestion an iPhone with this design will be released anytime soon, but the patent — and accompanying renders — do present the not-implausible possibility of a future for Apple’s signature device that features a pretty dramatic design break from the past.

Andy Meek Trending News Editor

Andy Meek is a reporter based in Memphis who has covered media, entertainment, and culture for over 20 years. His work has appeared in outlets including The Guardian, Forbes, and The Financial Times, and he’s written for BGR since 2015. Andy's coverage includes technology and entertainment, and he has a particular interest in all things streaming.

Over the years, he’s interviewed legendary figures in entertainment and tech that range from Stan Lee to John McAfee, Peter Thiel, and Reed Hastings.