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Apple said to working on dual-screen iPhone; patent app explains how you might view notifications


There are certain times when Apple is the leader in the smartphone industry and other times when it plays follow the leader. The OG iPhone was an amazing leap over the typical smartphone of its day. It was the first touchscreen smartphone. Yeah, you LG Prada supporters can sit down; that device was not a smartphone. The only smartphone that could arguably compare to the first iPhone in 2007 in terms of multimedia was the Nokia N95. But the iPhone was about convenience and intuition; it took 11 button presses to open Google Maps on the Symbian powered N95 (which was not a touchscreen phone obviously) compared to the one needed to open the app on Apple’s handset.

Apple files for a patent on ways a foldable iPhone might show notifications

But the original iPhone also launched without some features that even in the day were found on feature phones including video, MMS, stereo Bluetooth, and 3G connectivity. Still, there is no question that Apple changed the industry; those working on Android, which was reportedly being developed as a challenger to BlackBerryOS and Windows Mobile OS at the time, threw in the towel and started all over again to support touchscreen handsets. However, when screens started getting bigger and 2011’s Samsung Galaxy Note was the first phonewith a screen larger than 5-inches (it had a 5.3-inch display as a matter of fact), Apple waited two years just to hit the 4-inch mark with the iPhone 5.

Apple also lagged behind when 4G was launched and is following that road again with this year’s expected unveiling of its first 5G models. But Apple was the first to include a viable fingerprint scanner (forget the biometric reader on the Motorola Atrix; that was a joke) and the first to replace it with a secure facial recognition system.
But one of the latest trends in the smartphone industry is one that Apple seems to be sitting out, watching from the sidelines. We’ve already seen foldable phones from Samsung, Motorola, and Huawei and all three of them are developing the second-generation of their foldables. Apple has yet to indicate that it is creating a bendy handset although tipster Jon Prosser says that such a device is being worked on in Cupertino. However, Prosser did say that what Apple is working on is more of a dual-screen device like the Surface Duo with two screens and a hinge.

One sign that a foldable (or dual-screened) iPhone will one day inhabit this planet comes in the form of a patent application published today by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO). The patent helps solve the musical question, “How can I check my notifications on a foldable iPhone without fully opening the device?” The filing, titled “Foldable Electronic Device with Exposed Display Region,” has some simple solutions. By making sure that part of the display can be read even in a closed position, notifications related to texts, alarms, messages, calendar reminders, and other alerts can be seen.

One way to do this is to have one of the screens feature an off-center fold. When the latter display is closed, it still leaves a part of the other screen exposed to show the notifications. Another possibility shown in the patent application to get a similar result is to add a physical tab on top of one of the screens making it taller. When the displays are closed, the taller tab sticks out and can show notifications.

If a foldable iPhone is in development, Apple has been tight-lipped about it. So tight-lipped in fact that the man who has an amazing track record forecasting upcoming Apple devices, TF International’s Ming-Chi Kuo, has not breathed a word about it. That doesn’t mean that one isn’t coming; however, the earliest that we might see a foldable iPhone would be next year.

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