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Foldable iPhones Could Have Self-Heating Displays to Avoid Damage in Cold Weather

The foldable smartphone era is in full swing with the recent introductions of the Samsung Galaxy Fold and Huawei Mate X, and while it remains unclear if Apple will follow suit, the company has at least explored ideas related to foldable smartphones in patent applications over the past few years.

Huawei Mate X

In a patent application published by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office today, titled "Electronic Devices With Flexible Displays," Apple explains that foldable smartphone displays could be prone to damage when bent in cold temperatures, and describes various heating methods to mitigate the issue.

For example, Apple says the portion of the display that bends could be heated by lighting up the pixels in that area of the screen. Alternatively, a "heating element or other heating structure" could be used, although Apple wasn't specific.

Apple's illustration of a folding device, along with an expanded view showing the bendable area of the display being heated

The patent application, highlighted by AppleInsider, notes that the foldable smartphone could have a magnetic latching mechanism that would prevent the device from being folded or unfolded in very cold temperatures to avoid damage to the display. This would be in environments "significantly below room temperature."

Apple files numerous patent applications every week, of course, and many of the inventions do not see the light of day. Patents are also very detailed, encompassing many possible ideas, even ones that Apple might not have any plans to advance. So, the exact implementation if any remains to be seen.

While unique, early foldable smartphones from Samsung and Huawei are far from perfect, with bulky designs and expensive price tags. Apple is unlikely to release a foldable iPhone unless it can meet the company's strict quality standards.

Last year, Bank of America analyst Wamsi Mohan predicted that Apple is working on a foldable iPhone for release in 2020, while an earlier Korean report said Apple was developing a foldable iPhone alongside LG. However, it's still not entirely clear if Apple will ever proceed with those plans.



Top Rated Comments

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7 months ago
At the courageous price of $2,499
Rating: 31 Votes
7 months ago
Am I the only person wondering why we need foldable iPhones?
Rating: 30 Votes
7 months ago
This is the kind of attention to detail that I doubt you will find in the Galaxy Fold. But yet, people will still say Apple doesn't do enough.
Rating: 28 Votes
7 months ago
While I appreciate the novelty of a folding screen, I'm still having doubts that there is that much demand for a product like this.
Rating: 22 Votes
7 months ago
Heating element. In a smartphone. What could possibly go wrong?
Rating: 20 Votes
7 months ago
I sincerely hope that folding phones (pholds) do not become the norm and stay explicitly niche.
Rating: 17 Votes
7 months ago
Good to see Apple looking for solutions to issues with foldable screens prior to releasing. Samsung and Huawei should have done the same with their creased screen issue.
Rating: 15 Votes
7 months ago

Heating element. In a smartphone. What could possibly go wrong?


Could you do this passively? By running a wire off whatever heatsink the AX's chip have that led to the fold area and get this heating passively through that? The A11 in the X warms up enough under heavy load, maybe that'd be the trick, plus it'd be kinda free.
Rating: 9 Votes
7 months ago

It seems Apple *has* to make a foldable iPhone to be able to "keep up" with the competition.

Making it will also create the idea that Apple is copying, not innovating.

Sure, Apple wil make a better foldable iPhone (what shall we call it... FiPhone? iPhone F? iPhone FSX Max?) than the current offerings.. but still...


Apple does not give a **** about being first, and make no mistake, they are experimenting with this sort of stuff on their secret labs.
Apple will only jump on this bandwagon if it sees there is a demand. Just look how long it took Apple to increase the display size on their iPhones or have an OLED display.
Apple will wait patiently, learn from others mistake, work to improve and then strike.
Rating: 8 Votes
7 months ago

It seems Apple *has* to make a foldable iPhone to be able to "keep up" with the competition.

Making it will also create the idea that Apple is copying, not innovating.

Sure, Apple wil make a better foldable iPhone (what shall we call it... FiPhone? iPhone F? iPhone FSX Max?) than the current offerings.. but still...


iPhold
Rating: 8 Votes

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