- A patent for a folding iPhone suggests some unique design choices
- It would use an offset hinge to create an exposed strip on the device’s display
- That strip could display notifications or provide device information
- It could also be used a Touch Bar similar to the MacBook Pro
Apples new patent for a folding phone suggests a device with an offset hinge that, when folded, would leave room for a sliver of display that can show notifications
Apple previously filed a patent in the US for a foldable smartphone, built with a proprietary hinge mechanism that applies different levels of pressure to different parts of the screen
A new patent filed by Apple suggests the company is still toying with the idea of a a folding phone.
What makes this particular patent interesting beyond the fact that one of the biggest smart phone purveyors in the world may potentially enter into the folding phone market, is its unique form factor.
The patent outlines a device with a hinge that is slightly offset, meaning when folded, the phone would leave a sliver of space at the bottom of the display that would be uncovered by its top portion.
This uncovered portion could be used to display notifications or potentially as a type of shortcut menu fro frequently used apps according to the patent.
‘Protruding display portion (sometimes referred to as an uncovered display region, protruding display region, uncoverable display region, exposed display edge, uncovered persistently exposed display area, etc.) may be used to display any suitable content,’ reads the patent.
‘As an example, notifications of incoming messages (emails, text messages, etc.), calendar content (e.g., meeting reminders), alerts (e.g., alarms, location-based alerts, etc.), battery status, wireless signal strength, airplane mode status, and other status information may be displayed on protruding display portion by control circuitry’
Alternatively, the patent also suggest that the uncovered strip may be used as a Touch Bar similar to the one included in the MacBook Pro.
‘The content that is displayed may be interactive (e.g., the content may include selectable on-screen items such as selectable icons, selectable buttons, selectable menu options, and/or other selectable content),’ the patent says.
‘Selectable content may be selected by supplying user input to select a displayed item (e.g., with an overlapping touch sensor and/or force sensor and/or with nearby touch sensors, force sensors, buttons, etc.).’
Though the patent doesn’t mean the phone will ever make it to fruition, it’s one of multiple folding patents filed by Apple over the course of the past year and signifies the company’s interest in joining the trend.
It would tail competitors like Samsung which has already released two foldable devices with varying results.