Apple’s Patent Reveals A Unique Hinge Design For Foldables

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While Samsung led the foldable smartphone industry for a while, other Chinese manufacturers, like Huawei and Vivo, seem to be catching up. Brands like Google and OnePlus have also released their first foldables. However, the Cupertino-based tech giant Apple is years behind, at least for now. 

Nonetheless, this doesn’t stop the rumor mill from churning out some exciting details every now and then. We’ve heard about the company working on a 20-inch foldable MacBook, but the most recent bit comes from a year-old patent published by the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO).

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Patent Showcases A Slightly Different Hinge Mechanism

Apple patent

In October 2023, Apple filed for a patent with the USPTO that describes the hinge mechanism of a compact, foldable iPhone. However, the USPTO published it recently. The design includes a hinge with gears and teeth holding the two folding haves together and synchronizing the movement. 

The diagrams showcase the folding device held together with a chain-like structure, which, in our opinion, is more complicated than the general foldable’s hinge. According to a report by PatentlyApple, each pair of hinge links could be restricted in its amount of overall rotation. 

Again, it’s important to note that the company in question here is Apple: it takes time to add the latest features, but when it does, it comes up with the best possible implementation. Per the document published by the USPTO, the device shown in figure one is a cellular phone. 

Apple patent

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The Stronger Hinge Could Increase Durability At The Cost Of Bulkiness

While the advantage of having a stronger hinge could be increased durability, it could also add heft to the phone. The foldable in question could be the size of an iPhone 15 Plus or the iPad Mini. It is more likely that the hinge description belongs to a foldable iPad than an iPhone because otherwise, the company could end up making one of the bulkiest foldables on the market.

Apple Could Release Its First Foldable By 2026

Industry analyst Jeff Pu predicted that Apple could launch its first foldable by 2026. According to him, the company will begin mass-producing a 20.3-inch foldable device (which could be a foldable MacBook) in late 2025. Before this, known tipster Ming-Chi Kuo also claimed a 2027 release for the company’s foldables. 

Bloomberg’s Mark Gurman, in a report, mentioned that the company could release a dual-screen foldable MacBook/iPad hybrid device, which is in line with the other information. However, we still need to know whether the company will foray into the foldable market with a smartphone or a hybrid device. Stay tuned for more updates on Apple foldable devices.

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Shikhar MehrotraShikhar Mehrotra
A tech enthusiast at heart, Shikhar Mehrotra has been writing news since college for an undergraduate degree in Journalism and Mass Communication. Over the last four years, he has worked with several national and international publications, including Republic World, and ScreenRant, writing news, how-to explainers, smartphone comparisons, reviews, and list-type articles. When he is not working, Shikhar likes to click pictures, make videos for his YouTube channel, and watch the American sitcom Friends.

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