Apple visualizes a foldable phone with self-repairing technology: What do we know?
- 09 Oct, 2020
With the gradual inflow of foldable smartphones in the market, the world has been wondering when we will finally see a foldable iPhone. Reports suggest that Apple has recently ordered a large number of foldable display samples last month from Samsung. This, along with the Apple patent application reveals the idea for a foldable smartphone which has a ‘self-repairing’ screen cover, allowing the dents and scratches covering the screen to be repaired.
Though the patent was originally filed in January this year, if what we’re seeing is true, future generations of the iPhones may feature self-healing screens. While Apple is rarely in a hurry to bring new technology to the table, it does seem that it is envisioning a folding iPhone and it can be seen at some point in future. So, is it only a matter of time that Apple rolls out a foldable iPhone for all the Apple fans? We don’t know yet but we’re already so excited!
Apple mentioned in the patent application that the concept’s display will allow no manual user interference to repair the device and it will repair itself. In theory, the foldable’s self-healing can activate automatically such as when the device is being charged or on a predetermined schedule, and it would use heat, light, or electric current to repair a protective layer above the screen. The report also suggests that the to-be device’s screen cover might have a layer of elastomer which can lose and regain its shape to keep the sensitive inner workings of a device protected. The material used for this idea will make the foldable’s overall display cover much more durable.
Also, some other tech companies such as Samsung and Motorola have made and are still making different styles of foldable phones, this idea of “self-healing” will add a unique touch to the devices. While this is truly exciting for the iPhone lovers and in the market of smartphone innovation, it is important to hold onto the expectations. At this stage, Apple is still very much in the research process and nothing official is out yet.
Interestingly, the self-repairing or self-healing technology has been seen in one smartphone already, the LG’s G Flex from 2013. It had a similar technology which self-healed the rear cover which was supposed to repair minor scrapes, such as a knife scratch. However, reviews claim that it wasn’t that very effective, as it could not recover even from small scratches during the testing.
In the patent application, the company has indicated that a phone’s display cover could be made of plastic, glass, or any other transparent material for this technology to come to life. Apple's patent specifically discussed using transparent conductors to form the heating layer in a display cover. Currently, foldable phones do not use glass displays, but plastic instead. It’s more flexible, which is ideal for a folding phone, but this also makes the displays far easier to damage. Samsung’s rollout of foldable phones, the Galaxy Fold, suffered from issues of the durability of the screen’s display. Similarly, experts say that the Galaxy Z Flip uses ‘ultra-thin glass’ and suffered screen issues too.
Though the patent filing could be evidence that Apple will release a foldable iPhone but there is no clear indication that Apple will launch a foldable phone with self-healing technology soon, if at all. But foldable phones are an arena which Apple appears to have been playing with for a couple of years, with patient applications showing mockups of what a foldable iPhone could look like strengthening the case.
This being said, stay tuned for more updates on this front!