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(Pocket-lint) - A future iPhone might look and work very differently to what we know now, if a new Apple patent application ever comes to fruition.

Apple no longer likes to be first out of the gate with an innovative new product, preferring instead to sit back, see what sticks, and improve upon that. Apple Watch, for instance, arrived long after the first modern smartwatches. And it looks like Apple might be taking that same approach with foldable phones. It has drawn up a concept of a foldable smartphone, which appeared in a patent application published last week.

USPTOApple image 1

The blueprints, which were filed in October, suggest Apple has also been considering a foldable phone for months. But it doesn't mean Apple is getting ready to launch one soon. And with Samsung launching the Galaxy Fold soon and others prepping their own foldable, Apple would once again be late to the game if it does release a foldable phone in the future. But there's little indication it definitely plans to launch one.

A patent application simply shows the ideas that Apple has been considering and wants to protect. Apple’s foldable here involves a display with hinges that can fold in half or in thirds. This display has many applications, from phones to tablets to laptops to wearables to accessories. “It would be desirable to be able to use flexible display technology to provide improved electronic devices,” Apple explained in the application.

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Dutch tech blog LetsGoDigital has already taken the designs depicted in the new Apple patent application and created renders based on them.

If you really want this all to be true, you'll be glad to know there is more proof that Apple developing a foldable iPhone. Last year, CNBC claimed that a new foldable iPhone - which would function as a tablet - could be released in 2020. 

Writing by Maggie Tillman. Originally published on 21 February 2019.