apple files patent for a foldable iPhone that has a ‘self-healing’ screen

apple files patent for a foldable iPhone that has a ‘self-healing’ screen

Is apple developing a foldable iphone with a self-healing screen?


On May 21st, 2024, Apple released the patent they filed for an electronic foldable device that would have a ‘self-healing’ protective screen. The screen of this foldable device can restore minor scratches or dents on its own without needing external help or repair. It can fix itself automatically by filling in the damage without the user’s help. The self-healing process of the screen can be sped up by using external triggers such as heat, light, or electric current.


In case heat is used to activate the self-healing material, the screen cover may have a heating layer made of see-through conductions, which can heat up on their own to help the self-healing screen revert to its original, unscathed state. In the patent file, Apple didn’t indicate what device this technology would be applied to. With the brand’s fans already showcasing their iteration of a foldable iPhone, Apple having a series of this sought-after smartphone that can be folded using a hinge may be a looming future. But in the patent’s description, the foldable electronic device is not limited to a smartphone, as it may also be a tablet, a laptop, a handheld device, or a computer.

apple patent self-healing screen foldable electronic device
video still by the first iPhone folding phone review flip © KJMX | read more about this here



Apple’s patent on foldable electronic device with flexible screen


The heating layer may be triggered when the user activates it using the foldable electronic device, such as by pressing a button or using a touch command. In this case, Apple might be using a dedicated setting or app to make it work. The users could also set the heating’s time so that the screen can repair itself, scheduled like an alarm. The self-healing screen could also be heated up even when the foldable electronic device is plugged in or charging.


In the patent, Apple’s filing team – comprising Hoon Sik Kim, Terry C. Lam, Chang-Chia Huang, Paul S. Drzaic, Yasmin F. Afsar, Young Cheol Yang, and Leiming Wang – says that the foldable electronic device has a screen that stretches across the hinge, so the plan is for this screen’s cover, the top layer, to come with a flexible section that can allow the users to bend and fold it without breaking. The device may have a clear layer called ‘transparent dielectric layer’ which can help insulate and protect the screen.

apple patent self-healing screen foldable electronic device
side views of the foldable electronic device with flexible and self-healing screens



A device that can repair minor scratches and dents on its own


To make the screen more bendable, the clear layer on the display has tiny cuts or slits in it. These small openings are filled with a translucent material that matches the optical properties of the surrounding material, so the display still looks clear and smooth. The flexible part of the screen is placed between two rigid parts of the cover to make the bending possible. The self-healing screen comes next. Apple thinks it’s important to reduce the scratches and dents that users or external factors might cause to the foldable electronic device. With this technology, the self-healing protective screen repairs minor scratches and dents by itself to maintain its smooth and new-looking screen.


As of the patent’s release, Apple’s team writes that the self-healing screen can either cover the entire display of the foldable electronic device or just its flexible, hinged part. An elastomer – a stretchy, rubber-like material, is also planned to be applied to the flexible part of the screen to make it more bendable. The self-healing screen sits on top of this elastomer layer, creating a dual-protective layer for the display of the next potential iPhone series. There are no official announcements yet from Apple on when they’re going to introduce or release this dubbed ‘self-healing’ screen and whether or not they’re going to produce foldable iPhones.

apple patent self-healing screen foldable electronic device
the potential electronic device, which may be a smartphone, laptop, or other electronics



Reports surrounding the release of the iPhone ‘Flip’ or a foldable iPhone have been going on for years. In a 2022 CNBC report, analyst firm CCS Insight gave its prediction that Apple may be releasing an iPad with a folding screen in 2024 rather than a foldable iPhone. A CNET news story says that leakers and analysts have been pushing back the release of this dubbed foldable iPhone, with the recent story being that Apple is developing two different sizes for its ‘iPhone Flip.’ Market analyst Ming-Chi Kuo, who is known for predicting Apple releases and technologies, took it to X in 2022 that Apple was ‘actively testing foldable OLED about 9-inch.’ 


Later, he revised his statement by saying that he predicts ‘Apple may launch its first foldable product in 2025 at the earliest, which may be a foldable iPad or a hybrid of iPad & iPhone.’ Apple also has another patent in early 2024 on ‘hinges for folding devices’, which may be tied in with its recent filing for a self-healing screen. Apple is set to hold its annual Worldwide Developers Conference on June 10th, 2024, and fans are all eyes on whether the brand is going to unveil the self-healing screen and/or foldable iPhone or iPad during the event, based on the series of filed patents.

apple patent self-healing screen foldable electronic device
a display cover with three dielectric layers for the flexible part of the screen

apple patent self-healing screen foldable electronic device
view of the transparent dielectric layer with slits

apple patent self-healing screen foldable electronic device
view of the display cover with index-of-refraction matching layers


view of the display cover layer with slits

project info:


name: ‘Self-healing’ screen on foldable electronic device

brand: Apple

patent no.: 11991901

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