Apple today has been granted a patent for technology that could potentially be used to circumvent the issue of foldable displays creasing and cracking at the fold over time – a problem that has plagued many consumer foldable devices that have made it to market thus far.
Published by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office under the heading "System with multiple electronic devices," the patent describes a technology that allows two or more devices to act as one when brought close to each other through the use of proximity sensors.
The patent envisions separate devices automatically detecting when they're placed together contiguously and then sharing a common display image across them.
"Multiple electronic devices may be used together in a system," continues the patent. "The electronic devices may use sensor measurements and other information to detect when an edge of a first electronic device is adjacent to an edge of a second electronic device."
As AppleInsider notes, the wording of the patent leaves open the possibility that the tech could be used to create a single bendable device comprised of two displays in seamless communication with each other, similar to Microsoft's upcoming Surface Duo.
"Magnetic components may hold devices together in a variety of orientations. The magnetic components may operate in cooperation with beveled housing edges and other structures to help hold devices in planar configurations in which the devices lie in a common plane and non-planar configurations in which the devices are oriented at a non-zero angle with respect to each other."
Foldable smartphones are undoubtedly the latest device trend, and while there are no rumors suggesting Apple has plans to release a foldable smartphone anytime soon, the company is clearly exploring their potential.
Apple has been known to be working on foldable display technology for years with patents on the implementation of similar technology. Of course, whether this research and development results in a foldable consumer product remains to be seen.