Apple iPhone Fold
Apple's patent hints at a foldable iPhone that sports a self-healing screen. Twitter / mysmartprice @mysmartprice

Apple's long-rumoured foldable iPhone could finally become a reality if a recently awarded patent is any indication. This patent hints at a revolutionary self-healing screen.

The US Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) granted the iPhone maker a patent for a foldable display with self-healing capabilities. This display utilises heat from various sources, like light, current, or even ambient heat, to automatically repair minor scratches on its surface.

Intriguing Patent Hints at Apple's Foldable Future

According to Patently Apple, the patent describes a self-healing layer on the screen's surface. Apple stays tight-lipped about the patent's specifics, but it fuels speculation about its future mobile plans as rumours continue to spread about a foldable iPhone to rival Samsung's Z Fold, Z Flip, and Google's Pixel Fold.

Apple self-healing screen patent
Apple's patent hints at a foldable iPhone with a self-healing display. Twitter / iGotOffer @iGotOffer

Alternatively, Apple could prioritise a foldable iPad, skipping the foldable iPhone lineup altogether. Moreover, a renowned analyst from Haitong International Securities, Jeff Pu, recently made bold predictions on Apple's plan to release a slimmer iPhone 17 model and enter the foldable phone market in the next two years.

A foldable phone would mark a significant departure for Apple, which has remained committed to flat-screen designs since the iPhone's debut nearly two decades ago. Despite the fledgling foldable market spurred by limited competition, Apple's entry could be the industry's jolt.

The Potential Impact of Self-Healing Displays

However, the success of a future foldable iPhone might hinge on the self-healing display. Despite generally positive reviews, foldable phones are susceptible to screen damage with prolonged use. Apple's patent for a self-healing display marks a significant leap forward in foldable phone technology.

By incorporating this innovative feature, Apple could revolutionise the market and redefine user expectations for durability. However, it is essential to remember that a patent award doesn't necessarily translate to a consumer product.

Like any tech giant, Apple regularly produces patents, but many never materialise into actual products. Rumours of a foldable iPhone have swirled for some time, with an earlier report even predicting a 2023 release that ultimately never materialised.

Adding to the mystery, the patent offers scant details on the self-healing process. It mentions many heating methods, leaving the exact functionality to be clarified. The Cupertino-based tech giant only mentioned that the self-healing layer would be made of "polymer or any desired material having self-healing properties." The patent also suggests that the self-healing layer could cover the entire display or a designated screen portion.

Analyst Ming-Chi Kuo, known for his accurate Apple predictions, believes a foldable iPhone could be in the offing, but not in the foreseeable future. This is a sign that Apple might be waiting to refine the technology before introducing it to a premium device.

Kuo stresses Apple prioritises user experience over being first. This aligns with the wait for a potentially revolutionary self-healing display, suggesting Apple prioritises long-term durability over a quick market entry.