Published by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office today, the patent explains that the hinge mechanism would ensure adequate separation between the first and second portions of the display. When the device is unfolded, movable flaps would extend to cover the gap, and then retract when the device is folded.
Early foldable smartphones like Samsung’s Galaxy Foldand Huawei’s Mate X have noticeable creases along the bending portion of the display. Motorola’s new foldable Razr avoids this issue with a unique hinge design, but early reviews indicate the device makes creaking sounds when opened or closed.
All in all, it is still early days for foldable smartphones, with lots of room for innovation. Apple has certainly shown an interest in the category with several patents for foldable devices and mechanisms over the past few years, but it remains to be seen if the company ever releases a foldable iPhone or iPad.