The road from an abstract concept or idea to a mass-produced commercial device can often be quite long and convoluted in the tech décor, especially when talking about Apple, which very rarely takes risks on “experimental” gadgets or features.
Cupertino delayed the inevitable IPS LCD to AMOLED iPhone transition for as long as humanly possible, so naturally, it seems highly unlikely the tardy move will occur simultaneously with folding screen technology adoption.
But a patent filing with the USPTO from yesterday, January 21, does at least prove Apple is testing the “electronic device with wrapped display” waters. As you might imagine, the application’s text is the definition of vague, referencing an “electronic device” of some sort with a “hollow display cover structure”, which may be formed from sapphire or “other crystalline materials.”
Then, a “flexible display layer” such as an organic light-emitting diode (OLED) display layer or “other flexible display structure may be wrapped around the longitudinal axis to cover the interior surface of the hollow display cover structure.”
In layman’s terms, think a cylinder-shaped iPhone, iPod or even iPad capable of unfolding and folding back together upon request in order to save space, look special and futuristic, and likely resist drops on hard surfaces too, courtesy of an essentially unbreakable, malleable physique.
Granted, we might be letting our imaginations run a little wild here, but that’s something Samsung and LG have been working on for years now, and tipsters claimed could materialize as early as 2016. If that’s the case (probably not, though), then Apple doesn’t want to be left behind, so foldable iPhone R&D should really be in progress already.