Apple is known for pushing the boundaries of tech, but the company's latest move is actually bringing things back – way back.
Unlike the Razr, however, Apple's patent is a bit more complicated than a flip phone. The new tech involves a screen that doesn't just bend and fold, but can actually be used as a two-sided display, with one on the front and one on the back.
While it certainly seems cool, the practical function of this feature remains to be seen.
Even though Apple filed its patent on September 22, it wasn't the first manufacturer to play with the idea of a flexible phone. Mashable reports that Samsung announced that it would be releasing a flexible phone in 2018, but that launch has since been pushed to 2019. And as for dual screens, Chinese company ZTE is set to release the Axon M, a phone with two displays that's reminiscent of another aughties standby: the T-Mobile Sidekick. With its two screens, the ZTE phone can enter something called mirror mode, letting two people sitting across from each other watch the same video simultaneously.
According Apple's patent, its new contraption "may be formed from shape memory alloy or amorphous metal and may have openings to facilitate bending." Ray Wong, Mashable's senior tech correspondent, has his doubts, since a bendable phone would make it pretty difficult to both incorporate a long-lasting battery and create a design that's aesthetically pleasing.
Apple's got a slew of pending patents, however, and not every single one of them may be incorporated into new iPhones. The company has a patent for a flexible screen that many thought would lead to a smartphone that resembled a high-tech scroll. This new patent seems to state that the device would fold on an axis, making it markedly different from the idea of a roll-up phone and closer to Razr territory.
What's old is new again — even when it comes to smartphones.
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