Apple CEO Tim Cook.
Getty Images/Chip Somodevilla
  • Apple successfully secured a patent for a folding device display on Tuesday.
  • This isn't the first patent Apple has filed to do with folding phone tech.
  • Samsung's flagship folding phone the Galaxy Fold has been beset by major issues, while Huawei has had its own problems as it prepares to launch the Mate X.
  • For more, go to Business Insider SA.

With Samsung's flagship Galaxy Fold hit by major technical problem and shipping delays and Huawei embattled by the US government, another major smartphone producer is making progress in the folding phone race.

Apple successfully secured a patent for a device with a folding display on Tuesday, which focuses on the display and cover layer of the phone. Previously patents have revealed Apple working on other elements of folding devices, such as the hinge.

The diagram for the patent is relatively minimal.

This doesn't mean Apple is suddenly or even definitively getting ready to release a folding iPhone. The patent was submitted in January 2018, and many tech companies file patents which never materialise into actual products.

Wedbush Securities analyst Daniel Ives told CNN the new patent shows at least that folding devices are "something on its [Apple's] roadmap." Ives added that Apple is still "well behind" Samsung on folding tech "but one advantage is that Samsung's Galaxy Fold has had technical issues as well as expensive pricing".

Samsung had to postpone the shipping of the $2,000 (R29,000) Galaxy Fold after a number of journalists experienced technical problems with their review models, including bulges and screen malfunctions.

Meanwhile, Huawei, which unveiled its 5G folding phone the Mate X at Mobile World Congress in February, has been placed on a blacklist by the US government - which might seal off any future phones (including the Mate X) from Google's Android operating system.

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