The iPhone 12 might be making its debut soon, but Apple might already be working on a follow-up model already. It was rumoured before that the company has plans to join the foldable smartphone market currently dominated by Samsung, Huawei, and Motorola. However, it needs to overcome a limitation imposed by the current foldable display technology. On the other hand, it might have something in mind as revealed by a patent document it filed earlier this year.

It was recently made public by the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO), which detailed a unique feature that might potentially be revolutionary. Samsung made bold claims about the purported durability of its ultra-thin glass tech on the Galaxy Z Flip and Galaxy Z Fold2. Nevertheless, the flexible screen remained susceptible to damage even just from regular use. Meanwhile, what Apple hopes to offer is a "self-healing" display cover.

Patently Apple reports that this unique manufacturing approach might debut on an unnamed device from the Cupertino-based tech firm. The document said: "During operation of an electronic device, the display cover layer for the electronic device may be scratched or dented. To improve the aesthetics of the electronic device, it may be desirable for the presence of scratches and dents to be minimized. To help mitigate the number of dents, scratches, or other imperfections in a display cover layer, the display cover layer may include a layer of self-healing material."

This is not the first time the tech industry encountered a "self-healing" material. In 2013, LG Electronics introduced the G Flex, which boasted a rear cover that could supposedly survive knife scratches and other minor surface damages. Unfortunately, it did not meet expectations after it was subjected to tests. Apple did not specify if the special substrate is intended for a handset or a tablet, but the figures on the documents suggest it might be a mobile phone.

Apple's results suggest momentum
One analyst said Apple's latest results suggest momentum heading into the season when it will likely release its iPhone 12. Photo: AFP / Josh Edelson

Earlier in September, Apple supposedly placed a large order for foldable OLED displays from Samsung. This led supply chain sources to speculate that a folding iPhone might be in development right now. In a related report, the iPhone 12 series might be the first models to ship without EarPods and chargers inside the box. This was noted by a line of text within the code for iOS 14.2.