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If iPhone goes foldable it might have a strip just for notifications

Foldable Iphone Patent With Exposed Strip
Foldable Iphone Patent With Exposed Strip (Image credit: Patently Apple)

What you need to know

  • A new patent shows a foldable iPhone with an area for notifications.
  • The display strip would remain exposed even when the iPhone is closed.
  • But remember, patents don't always turn into products.

Apple has been rumored to have foldable iPhones in testing already and a new patent shows what appears to be a strip of display area that would remain visible even when the device is closed. That strip, it appears, would be used specifically for new incoming notifications.

Found by Patently Apple, the patent application was published earlier today and makes for interesting reading for anyone who doesn't want to have to unfold a folding iPhone just to see notifications.

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. 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. The uncovered persistently exposed display area may also be used by control circuitry to display icons (e.g., icons associated with default applications and/or a set of frequently used and/or user-defined applications) and/or other content.

Interestingly, and perhaps importantly, that portion of the display would still be touchable even when the iPhone is closed. That may open the door to interactive notifications – and maybe widgets? – that could continue to be used at all times.

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). 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.).

But as ever it's important to remember that not all of Apple's patents turn into products that hit store shelves. The company notoriously patents everything its engineers can come up with, just in case it ever comes in handy. That said, who doesn't want a foldable iPhone at this point?

Oliver Haslam
Contributor

Oliver Haslam has written about Apple and the wider technology business for more than a decade with bylines on How-To Geek, PC Mag, iDownloadBlog, and many more. He has also been published in print for Macworld, including cover stories. At iMore, Oliver is involved in daily news coverage and, not being short of opinions, has been known to 'explain' those thoughts in more detail, too.

Having grown up using PCs and spending far too much money on graphics card and flashy RAM, Oliver switched to the Mac with a G5 iMac and hasn't looked back. Since then he's seen the growth of the smartphone world, backed by iPhone, and new product categories come and go. Current expertise includes iOS, macOS, streaming services, and pretty much anything that has a battery or plugs into a wall. Oliver also covers mobile gaming for iMore, with Apple Arcade a particular focus. He's been gaming since the Atari 2600 days and still struggles to comprehend the fact he can play console quality titles on his pocket computer.