A foldable iPhone model from Apple may still be in the works, as was first rumoured back in 2016.
The tech giant is exploring ways to stop major damage to its screen if the gadget is dropped, according to a recent patent application reviewed by Insider and dated March 16.
A brief about if dropped, a foldable iPhone might be able to close itself to protect the screen
A fall detector, or “accelerometer,” is suggested by the application, “Self-retracting display device and ways for protecting screen employing drop detection.” It would “automatically retract the foldable display” thanks to a releasing mechanism.
However, if the object is too close to a surface or the ground, it could not have enough time to close completely.
Because the mobile device may strike its edges rather than the display itself, the patent application claims that “even folding the display to an angle less than 180 degrees can give some protection.”
Online rumours about a foldable iPhone have been circulating for a while now without any official confirmation from Apple.
It has submitted a number of patent applications that depict potential designs for devices. One version of the phone included a protrusion towards the top that allowed access to parts like the camera without having to unfold it.
In October of last year, Ben Wood, the head of research at CCS Insight, told CNBC that a foldable iPhone would probably cost around $2,500. That is about $1,000 more than the 14 Pro Max, which has a maximum price of $1,599.
Patent requests don’t necessarily signal Apple will start producing foldable iPhones, but they do show the company is still considering the concept.
According to data from Canalys, little over 14 million folding smartphones were sold worldwide in 2017. This represents a very small percentage of the overall smartphone market. Samsung Galaxy models numbered around 12 million.
An outside of regular business hours enquiry for comment from Insider was not immediately answered by Apple.