The next year’s iPhone 8 is widely rumored to shake things up with an innovative design and exciting new features as Apple celebrates the 10th anniversary of its iconic product. Going by a new patent awarded to Apple, the 2017 iPhone could feature a foldable display. Note that the Cupertino company files tons of patents every year, and not all of them make it into the final products.

iPhone 8
Image Credit: Apple Inc / USPTO

Carbon nanotubes are going to make it possible

On Monday, the US Patent and Trademark Office granted Apple patent for a foldable smartphone technology. The patent was first filed in August 2014. This is not Apple’s first patent related to foldable display smartphones. Back in 2013, Patently Apple found two patents related to the same technology. It indicates that the tech giant has been serious considering the foldable display technology for years.

The latest patent names the materials that would make a smartphone fold down the middle. According to the filing, the casings could be glass, ceramic, metal, or fiber. It’s the conductive carbon nanotubes that will make folding possible. Apple says the carbon nanotube structures can be incorporated into almost everything from portions of the display to touch sensors to circuit boards to electrical components.

Apple is not the only smartphone maker exploring this technology, though. Samsung has also filed dozens of patents relating to the foldable display technology. It is too early to say whether the Cupertino company will incorporate the technology in the upcoming iPhone 8. But it does shed light on what we may see in the next few years.

iPhone 8 to feature wireless charging

The iPhone 8 is also rumored to feature wireless charging. Supply chain sources told the Nikkei Asian Review that Apple’s largest manufacturing partner Foxconn was producing and testing wireless charging modules for the upcoming iPhone. Apple has also hired several engineers from wireless charging firm uBeam in the last few months.

However, sources told Nikkei that the wireless charging module will be added to the iPhone 8 only if Foxconn can achieve a satisfactory yield rate. The yield rate has been very low, said sources. While some smartphone vendors already offer wireless charging technology that requires the phone to be placed on a mat, Apple is looking at long-distance wireless charging.

Sharp President Tai Jeng-wu said last week that the iPhone 8 would feature an edge-to-edge OLED display. Though Apple has not confirmed it, rumors suggest that the home button and fingerprint scanner will be embedded in the display itself. The device will have a glass back with a metal frame. According to Nikkei, the iPhone 8 will be available in three different screen sizes: 4.7-inch, 5-inch, and 5.5-inch.