iPhone 8 Release Date, News & Update: 2017 Apple Smartphone May Be Foldable Upon Patent Grant; Game-Changing Design In The Works

By Arianne Gift , Updated Nov 23, 2016 06:45 AM EST

Apple has been granted a patent for a foldable smartphone. The patents have led to speculations that the Cupertino giant is releasing a foldable full-screen display iPhone 8 in 2017,.

Likened to Motorola's flip phones in the 1990s, the iPhone 8 is possibly going to be a flexible display device, in accordance to Apple's US Patent No. 9,504,170 from U.S. Patent and Trademark Office. Moreover, the proposed design would allow the smartphone to be folded in two for convenient storage.

iPhone 8 Specs & Features

According to the patent document, one of the several variations for the iPhone 8 is a flexible nitinol, and a nickel and titanium alloy as its handset support structure. One variant suggests a design that hides the phone's screen when it's folded into two, like the clamshell phones in the past decades. Another model leaves the screen visible but its size is reduced to half.

For the foldable format to be achieved, the would-be iPhone 8 depends on several flexible components. One of which is the OLED display and metal support structure. To avoid possible stresses on the OLED component, tensioning members should be incorporated for dispensing and retracting the screen during hinge rotation, Apple Insider reports.

Apple's iPhone 8 Design, As Suggested By The Patent Document

To recall, Apple first hinted of the innovative design in 2013. With news of the newly granted patent however, it goes to show that the tech behemoth is still serious into materializing a foldable phone in the near future. Whether the design is to be implanted in the iPhone 8 or other Apple devices is yet to be seen. However, several images on the patent depicted the distinct iPhone design, including the home button, according to Patently Apple.

Apple's foldable iPhone patent was first filed in July 2014. Listed as inventors are Fletcher R. Rothkopf, Andrew J. M. Janis and Teodor Dabov. The rumored iPhone 8 patent design is the second grant relating to a foldable smartphone in a month for Apple.

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