Apple could develop bendable flip-phone

The design, which nods to the clamshell flip-phones developed in the 1990s, would incorporate new technologies such as an OLED screen.

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Apple/USPTO

Apple could be looking to bring a touch of 1990s nostalgia to the iPhone, according to a US patent for a phone that flips in half, which was lodged by the tech company.

The patent details an “electronic device” which contains “multiple housing portions” coupled together using hinges, allowing it to fold in half just like the clamshell phones popularised by Motorola during the 1990s.

Hinge structure

The hinges could either be based on a three-bar linkage, four-bar linkage, “slotted members” or “flexible housing structures”.

One of the more futuristic-looking components of the flip-phone could be a flexible OLED display, which is currently only used in the tech company’s Apple Watch.

OLED is a type of display technology which allows for higher resolution and larger display sizes.

Metal support structure

The patent also proposes a metal support structure within the phone made from nitinol, a nickel and titanium alloy noted for its elasticity and shape-memory abilities.

Apple’s foldable iPhone patent was first filed for in July 2014, with Fletcher R. Rothkopf, Andrew J. M. Janis and Teodor Dabov credited as its inventors.

Apple has not confirmed whether it plans to make and manufacture the phone in the future.

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