Apple has been granted a patent that presents an iPhone with a foldable form factor, but it describes a flip phone that supports physical buttons. That doesn't sound very Apple to us.
As seen on Patently Apple, the US Patent & Trademark Office granted a patent to Apple, which it originally applied for back in 2019. It shows a clamshell flip phone design, except unlike the recent foldable iPhone rumours, it describes "various types of physical buttons." Kicking it old school, are we?
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Patents usually never represent the final product, so we're not sure what Apple may be mocking up. Although, the patent also states the use of touch sensors and force-sensitive displays, along with swipe gestures and touch inputs.
The patent also shows the different materials and 'Air-Permeable Structure' that would be suitable, so it may be taking certain design features from the flip phone form factor to create something a bit more, well, Apple.
Rumours have been swirling that Apple is making two iPhone foldables; one with one large continuous screen in the same vein as the Samsung Galaxy Z Flip; and another with dual-screens like the Microsoft Duo. The recently granted patent is pointing toward more of a Samsung Galaxy Z Flip type design with physical buttons possibly being at the side.
Apple's foldable iPhone may not arrive for a couple more years, although Samsung Display could now be working with Apple by offerings its foldable display technology.