Apple’s iPhone could get a radical makeover and Samsung had better beware


Recently discovered patent applications suggest that Apple could soon be developing its very own foldable smartphone, giving heavy hitters like Samsung a major challenge. However, the popular US-based company is looking to add its own unique spin to the foldable smartphone model, by using a feature to protect the iPhone should an owner drop it. If implemented, users may no longer have to worry about their cracking the screens of their £1500 iPhones if they fall on anything harder than a pillow.

The technology, described as the Self-Retracting Display Device And Techniques For Protecting Screen Using Drop Detection on the patent application, was spotted on the website of the United States Patent and Trademark Office.

According to the application, the phone will be equipped with a type of sensor. If it detects that the iPhone is falling, it will signal an “electronically adjustable latching mechanism” to immediately snap the phone shut.

If the phone is too close to the ground, the sensor may not work fast enough to fully close the device, leaving it partially open.

However, the patent notes that “even folding the display to an angle less than 180 degrees can offer some protection” because the impact would be at the edges of the mobile device, rather than at the display itself.

In the patent application, Apple also hinted that their foldable iPhones, which have been rumoured for years, will come with a unique hinge.

Instead of a normal hinge in the centre of the screen, this device may consist of two separate screens that connect to each other when the iPhone is unfolded.

While the application doesn’t describe how this technology works, it suggests that the top screen would detect itself from the bottom, and help protect the display.

In the document, Apple noted that the sensor in its fall protection technology may detect motion through “accelerometers, gyroscopes, compasses, and/or other components”.

READ MORE: Apple’s next product may have just been leaked

While they don’t provide further details on how this sensor works, they note that its internal mechanism will be able to detect when the fall speed “exceeds a predetermined threshold” for it to automatically close.

Rumours about a foldable iPhone have been circulating over the past few years, and patent applications have shown that the company is experimenting with a number of different designs.

While one design described a device having two hinges and three displays, another prototype experimented with an iPhone having an Electronic Paper Display.

Of course, Apple keeps all of its upcoming releases very close to its chest and many of these patents are often filed but never see the light of day. The next big update from the firm should arrive in September and will Apple announce a foldable iPhone – we’ll have to wait and see.



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