A new patent submitted by Apple reveals a folding protective mechanism when the device drops to the ground.

Folding iPhone

‘Self-Retracting Display Device and Techniques for Protecting Screen Using Drop Protection’ refers to a display that can break away, detach, or fold when it detects the need. Instead of a fragile hinge or connection, the screen might be less vulnerable to damage this way.

Apple says that the mobile device with a rollable or foldable display will utilize a component that senses vertical acceleration to determine a freefall on the way to the ground. The device can retract or release to keep the fragile screen from a fatal ground impact.

The patent may be applicable in future iPads or iPhones, both of which are rumored to come with folding displays. The patent is credited to Michael Wittenberg and Hoon Sik Kim. As is the case, a filed patent does not necessarily mean it will be implemented by Apple.

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Samantha is a senior news editor at iLounge. She has been covering the technology industry for over five years, writing about Apple, Google, and other major companies. Samantha has also worked as a reporter and editor for several other publications.