Rumors of Apple’s intention to launch a foldable iPhone at some point in the future make tons of sense and it would be a surprise if there haven’t already been foldable iPhone prototypes around Apple Park.

A new patent might have given us a glimpse at what such an iPhone could offer, too, with a display area specifically designed to house notifications when the device is in the closed position.

According to the new patent, the display would protrude at one edge even when the iPhone was closed, allowing people to see notifications and whatnot.

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.

Importantly, the patent also notes that such a screen would also be touch-capable, allowing users to interact with their notifications without the need to open the iPhone up.

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.).

Dealing with notifications while a foldable phone is closed has been an issue for other devices in the past and it’s a potential issue that Apple would no doubt want to fix before launching its own folding iPhone. There’s no guarantee that this patent will result in a product at all, however. Apple patents everything its engineers think of and this might simply be another example of that.

Let’s hope not though!

(Source: USPTO, Via: Patently Apple)

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