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Future iPhones could fold in half

November 4th, 2016 |  Published in Apple



4 November 2016 –  Apple has just received a patent, titled “electronic devices with carbon nanotube printing circuits,” that suggests future iPhones may be foldable — at least to some degree.

Getting rid of the headphone jack isn’t really an innovation, and it doesn’t actually require courage to do it. But an iPhone that folds in half? Now you’re talking.

And yes, it does look an awful lot like the Microsoft Courier concept that you never had a chance to buy. It also looks like a scaled-down version of the recently-released Lenovo Yoga Book, which you can actually buy right now.

Based on the language in the patent, it doesn’t sound like Apple is specifically talking about a device that has a fully bendable display. It mentions one that can bend “along edges of touch sensors or displays.” The carbon nanotube PCBs provide flexibility for some of the phone’s internals, but not all of them. Those other parts will likely be covered by other patents if Apple is genuinely working on a seamless foldable device.

The usual caveats apply here. For now, this is simply yet another patent padding Apple’s already massive portfolio. Could they be planning to release an iPhone that folds in half? Definitely.

Will it be the iPhone 8, like Newsweek asks? That depends on whether or not carbon nanotube PCBs and reliable, flexible displays are a real, mass-produced thing in just two more releases. Right now it doesn’t seem like a strong possibility, especially not from a company that many believe is playing it safe right now.

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