A recent patent revealed that the iPhone foldable phone, which has been rumored for a long time that Apple intends to launch in the future, will support a feature that makes it fold automatically in order to protect it from falling.
The patent, which is currently on the USPTO website, has a very long name: “Self-Retracting Screen Device and Screen Protection Technologies Using Fall Detection.”
From the name, it appears that Apple’s goal from the patent is to reduce damage to the screen, as the upcoming iPhone foldable phone may contain sensors, such as: the accelerometer sensor. And if the sensors detect that the iPhone is falling, it will send a signal to the “electronically adjustable locking mechanism” to quickly lock the phone.
The patent application hints that the mechanism may not fully lock the phone if the iPhone is too close to the ground, leaving it partially unlocked. But that’s okay, according to the patent, “folding the screen at an angle of less than 180 degrees still provides some protection.” At the very least, the effect will be on the sides rather than directly on the screen.
The patent also reveals that Apple wants to work on the hinge, as the foldable iPhone may consist of two separate screens that connect to each other when the device is opened instead of having a regular hinge in the middle. Therefore, the upper screen, when the phone is closed, separates from the lower part, which helps in protection.
Large parts of the patent application talk about the capabilities of the foldable iPhone. For example, a fall protection sensor may consist of accelerometers, gyroscopes, compasses, or other motion detection components. However, Apple does not directly refer to any specific technology.
Most importantly for the company, the internal mechanisms are able to detect when the “fall velocity exceeds a preset threshold” in order to automatically shut down.
It is noteworthy that the rumors about the foldable iPhone began about 3 years ago, after competing companies, such as Samsung, launched foldable phones.
During that time, other patents were leaked talking about one design that “contains two hinges for three screens” that allows the phone to fold in the shape of the letter Z. While another prototype revealed an electronic paper display.
However, it is believed that Apple will not launch the iPhone (iPhone Fold) before 2025.