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

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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.

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

MacsRgr8

macrumors 604
Sep 8, 2002
7,830
1,120
The Netherlands
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...
 

mcfrazieriv

macrumors 6502a
Jan 30, 2012
725
1,769
Irvine, CA
My brick iPhone has a built in heater. It's called a battery. When I use it more, the phone gets warmer. When it sits in sunlight, it shuts off because its too hot. Why the hell do I need it to fold? And why does it need more heat?
 
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Relentless Power

macrumors Nehalem
Jul 12, 2016
30,333
30,576
Think about it, how many will travel with a device where it folds, The temperature may be colder depending on someone’s commute or if they’re outside , and by bending the device back-and-forth, could cause damage to the internal components. To me, this would be something that would have to be considered in different environments that a folding display would be subjected to, and this seems like a very Apple-like move.
 

happyslayer

macrumors 6502a
Feb 3, 2008
910
411
Glendale, AZ
I will need to see one and hold/fold it and all that but I’m really not seeing the benefit of this yet. The current models shown by Samsung and Huawei just look too thick to use folded, and too big to use doing “normal” phone things unless I’m sitting on the couch or in a coffee shop (where I use my iPad.)

However, I’m a tech junky (especially Apple tech) so I’d still probably get an Apple folding iPhone.
 

mattster16

macrumors 6502a
Apr 18, 2004
707
337
Something I never thought about, but it is total common sense. Nearly all materials become more brittle in the cold. Being from Minnesota this could be a huge issue. Leave it to Apple to think of something like this. I highly doubt Samsung or Huawei have addressed this.

Sure makes all the people who were insisting Apple is behind the times and falling behind after the Samsung and Huawei releases sound dumb. If you thought Apple wasn't already developing and testing folding screens this patent filing sure proves that wrong.
 

BvizioN

macrumors 601
Mar 16, 2012
4,953
2,749
Manchester, UK
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.
 

mattster16

macrumors 6502a
Apr 18, 2004
707
337
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.
and then $$$$.
 
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davidwes

macrumors 6502
Dec 28, 2004
282
111
I sincerely hope that folding phones (pholds) do not become the norm and stay explicitly niche.
Why? Who doesn't want more screen size in a form factor that can easily fit into your pocket?

Of course, no one wants what's currently coming out: 2k+ phones that are thicker than the iPhone, but someone had to be the first and it was never going to be apple.

If Apple could make a foldable phone that costs less then the combined cost of my iPad and my iPhone I would totally buy it. I don't see why that would be a niche?