The proposed design would be a big change from how phones are currently used.
A foldable iPhone may move from concept to reality in the not-too-distant future.
Users of the devices would be able to use multiple touchpoints beyond only the screen to control features such as volume, the camera, screen brightness and color settings.
“Wake up, new Apple patent just dropped,” wrote @ProductHunt in a tweet. “It seems Apple *might* be working on a foldable iPhone with even the sides being considered for user input. Would you buy a folding iPhone?”
In the patent application, Apple explains its reasoning behind the multiple touchpoints.
“It can be challenging to gather touch input from a user and to display images for a user efficiently,” Apple writes. “For example, when a user supplies touch input to a touch screen display, the user’s hand may block images that are being displayed on the display. Buttons and other input devices may be used to gather input from a user, but this type of input device may not be as convenient and versatile as a touch sensor.”
“Displays are sometimes not visible from certain directions and may be smaller than desired,” it continues. “It would therefore be desirable to be able to provide electronic devices with enhanced touch sensor and display structures.”
The document then describes the functionality of a potential foldable device.
“A foldable electronic device may have a flexible transparent wall portion that joins planar transparent walls,” Apple explains. “Components may be interposed between the transparent planar walls and opaque walls. Display and touch layers may be overlapped by the transparent walls and the transparent flexible wall portion. Additional touch layers may be overlapped by the opaque walls.”