iPhone Fold could reimagine a key Apple Watch feature

The eventual iPhone Fold handset could protect itself from damage by automatically snapping closed when dropped, according to a new patent filing from Apple.

Samsung will tell you that foldable handsets are much more vulnerable to damage than traditional smartphones, which benefit from super tough glass coating over that precious display. However, Apple may seek to legislate for a possible uptick in smashed displays with some familiar tech, according to the patent filed last week.

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Cleverly, the tech might use technology that’s already present within the Apple Watch. Apple could adapt the Fall Detection feature, which uses on board motion sensors to detect when a tumble might be in place.

So, if the accelerometer believes the phone is going south at a rate reminiscent of the earth’s gravitational pull, it’d close itself like a turtle going back within its shell before hitting the floor.

The patent filing (via Insider), called “Self-retracting display device and techniques for protecting screen using drop detection” explains how it’ll work.

iPhone Fold Fall Detection patent

The abstract for the patent, written in particularly unreadable English, reads: “In some aspects, mobile devices with foldable and rollable displays can use a sensor to detect if the mobile device has been dropped. If the sensor detects that the mobile device has been dropped, the foldable device can fold or retract at least partially to afford protection from the fragile display from striking the ground.

“Even filing the display to an angle less than the 180 degrees can afford some protection because the mobile device can strike edges of the mobile device instead of the display itself. In various embodiments a rollable device can retract the display if predetermined acceleration limits are exceeded.”

Apple has been rumoured to be working on a foldable iPhone for a number of years now, with recent indications suggesting it may be 2025 before Apple takes the plunge.

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