They say fashion moves in cycles. Apparently, consumer technology does, too. On Tuesday, Patently Apple uncovered a patent awarded to Apple that looks like a blast from the past — albeit with a bit of a twist: an iPhone that folds down the middle.
Foldable phones used to be more prevalent in the cellular market, which is perhaps why Apple began filing patents for this technology as early as 2013. The most recent iteration lays out a design for an iPhone that relies on "carbon nanotubes" to allow for bending, no matter the surrounding material. Glass, ceramic, fiber, aluminum or plastic are all supposedly acceptable casings, so long as the nanotubes are present.
From the patent:
Conductive carbon nanotube paths can form signal paths that are flexible and resistant to cracking. The carbon nanotube structures may be incorporated into signal cables such as flexible printed circuit cables, rigid printed circuit boards, printed circuits that include rigid portions with flexible tails (sometimes referred to as "rigid flex"), portions of display structures, portions of touch sensors such as capacitive touch sensor arrays for displays or track pads, camera structures, antenna structures, housing structures, internal device structures, electrical components, substrates, brackets, housing walls, other structures, or combinations of these structures.
Of course, patents are filed all the time, and Apple's latest doesn't guarantee a foldable iPhone will hit the shelves anytime soon, if ever. Still, the idea is there, and Apple has clearly been thinking about it for some time now. You never know.