With foldable smartphones becoming the hot new trend for 2019, iPhone fans are wondering when we’ll see something from Apple. It’s likely to be a while before a foldable iPhone hits the market, but there’s no question Apple is looking into it.

The company’s latest patent application details how it might prevent a foldable smartphone from breaking in cold weather.

Once you reach a certain age, you start to realize that certain things don’t move so well in the cold. And it turns out that it’s not just human joints that suffer this problem. So how do you ensure a foldable phone doesn’t get damaged when the temperature drops?

Apple has some interesting ideas.

Apple knows how to keep a foldable iPhone warm

One potential solution is to give that foldable phone heating pixels that keep its fragile parts warm at all time. Apple details the idea in an application submitted to the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office.

“To facilitate bending about the bend axis without damage when the display is cold, a portion of the display that overlaps the bend axis may be selectively heated,” Apple explains.

“The portion of the display that overlaps the bend axis may be self-heated by illuminating pixels in the portion of the display that overlap the bend axis or may be heated using a heating element or other heating structure that provides heat to the portion of the display overlapping the bend axis.”

Apple goes on to describe how the heating system could be activated automatically when the foldable components drop below a certain temperature.

A foldable iPhone isn’t guaranteed

Apple patents like this one are incredibly exciting because they give us an insight into some of the ideas the company is exploring in secret. But they are never a guarantee of things to come.

Apple protects all kinds of weird and wonderful ideas that never come to fruition. Just because it seems to be looking at a foldable device, it doesn’t mean a foldable iPhone is certain.

It’s likely Apple will wait to determine just how successful foldable phones might be before launching its own. It could be that they never progress past being an expensive gimmick. Apple may also have to wait on the technology, too.

Recent rumors have suggested Samsung — perhaps the only supplier Apple could source foldable displays from in large numbers — could hold off on selling its flexible OLED panels in an effort to postpone competition for its new Galaxy Fold.

Whatever the case may be, it’s great to see that Apple isn’t writing off foldable devices just yet.