APPLE HAS FILED AN APPLICATION for a US patent on a foldable electronic device with a flexible display back, a sign that the firm might be plotting to take on Samsung's long-rumoured flexible smartphone.
The application, filed back in September, says the technology is related to any kind of electronic device that has a display, such as a "laptop computer, a tablet computer, a cellular telephone or a wristwatch".
Given that it's unlikely that Apple is plotting a flexible MacBook or iPad, this application hints that a flexible iPhone could be in the works, especially as - just hours before the firm's iPhone X launch earlier this year - Samsung announced that it plans to release a foldable smartphone in 2018.
Dongjin Koh, president of Samsung's mobile business, told reporters at a conference in South Korea that the company hopes to release its first 'bendable' smartphone next year under its flagship Galaxy Note line, despite speculation the device would arrive as the Samsung Galaxy X.
However, Koh warned that there are still hurdles to overcome and release would be pushed back if they're not resolved.
"As the head of the business, I can say our current goal is next year," he said. "When we can overcome some problems for sure, we will launch the product."
According to newer reports, Samsung's foldable device is unlikely to see the light of day before 2019, with the firm having already suffered from early production issues.
Although Apple is yet to be granted this patent, a sign that it could be years before it ever makes use of it, a report at ET News claims the firm is working China's largest display maker, BOE, to create a flexible OLED screen.
The report notes that, while Apple is currently receiving all its OLED displays from Samsung Display, it's looking to lessen its dependence on the firm, and is looking for a new flexible OLED supplier.
ET News notes that LG Display has been mentioned as the most likely candidate, but BOE "quickly emerged as its main competitor." µ
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