A recently published patent how shown that Apple has continued to experiment with foldable smartphone technology, following similar strategic moves made by two of its main competitors, Samsung and Huawei.
Apple initially applied for a foldable phone patent in November 2016, but it recently had a second patent granted by the US Patent and Trademark. The patent is notable because of two key additions: A flexible hinge and the use of fabric for the housing, allowing for screen flexibility.
Apple's foldable iPhone has previously tipped for release in 2020. Back in May 2018, Bank of America analyst Wamsi Mohan told investors that supply chain checks showed that Apple planned to launch a radically different smartphone design in 2020.
"Our checks also suggest that Apple is working with suppliers on a foldable phone (that potentially could double up as a tablet) for launch in 2020," he added.
This year, Huawei announced that it planned to launch the world's first foldable smartphone, following a similar announcement by Samsung. Apple's new patent suggests it is attempting to remain competitive in the smartphone market in the face of declining sales, especially in the APAC region.
Earlier in 2018, it was revealed that Huawei had overtaken Apple to become second-largest smartphone provider on the planet. Samsung currently occupies first place.