Apple filing hints at work on OLED-based wraparound display technology

Posted:
in Future Apple Hardware
A U.S. patent application published on Thursday suggests that Apple is at least experimenting with the concept of wraparound displays for some of its portable devices.




Simply titled "Electronic Device with Wrapped Display," the filing refers to a "hollow display cover structure," which could be protected by crystalline material such as sapphire. Inside would be some form of flexible display technology, a given example being OLED.

Images attached to the patent don't resemble any current or rumored Apple device, and the company suggests that the patent could be applied to any number of products. The most realistic illustrations do however show a tube-like design vaguely similar to an iPhone or iPod, including ports and buttons.

Apple also refers to app support and possible touch, voice, and/or accelerometer input, hallmarks of the company's mobile devices.

Curved displays are still a relative rarity in the electronics world, seen mostly in TVs, monitors, and a handful of smartphones, like the Samsung Galaxy S6 Edge. Full wraparound displays are essentially unheard of outside of demonstrations, making it unlikely that Apple would release such a product in the near future, if ever.

Apple is however believed to be working on adopting OLED for future iPhones, possibly in 2018 or 2019. That could permit displays similar to the S6 Edge, or at least ones better able to bend under pressure.

Comments

  • Reply 1 of 15
    iTube!
    flaneur
  • Reply 2 of 15
    cnocbuicnocbui Posts: 3,613member
    If the patent clerk doesn't reject that for obviousness, he should be found some other job.
    edited January 2016
  • Reply 3 of 15
    cnocbui said:
    If the patent clerk doesn't reject that for obviousness, he should be found some other job.
    I thought patents were based on implementation? Are you saying Apple is attempting to patent something with the exact same implementation  as someone else?
  • Reply 4 of 15
    iTube!
    A tube of what? ;)
  • Reply 5 of 15
    cnocbuicnocbui Posts: 3,613member
    cnocbui said:
    If the patent clerk doesn't reject that for obviousness, he should be found some other job.
    I thought patents were based on implementation? Are you saying Apple is attempting to patent something with the exact same implementation  as someone else?
    4th item: The invention must be non-obvious

    http://www.bitlaw.com/patent/requirements.html

  • Reply 6 of 15
    Mr_GreyMr_Grey Posts: 118member
    cnocbui said:
    If the patent clerk doesn't reject that for obviousness, he should be found some other job.
    If you read the patent, and understood it, you wouldn't say that.  The "hollow display structure" made out of a piece of crystal is quite innovative.  There is a pretty clear implication that this would be carved (CNC) out of a single block of crystalline material. 

    Also, being as the most likely material this would be made out of would actually be that zirconia crystal they have the patent on, this dovetails rather nicely with rumours of Apple experimenting with new materials for the next generation of devices.  
    edited January 2016
  • Reply 7 of 15
    radarthekatradarthekat Posts: 2,372moderator
    I'm ordering what use ce there is for a display that wraps all the way around a cylinder.  Advertising display stand at a mall or in an Apple Store.  But a portable product?  Like an iPad?  Dubious.  
  • Reply 8 of 15
    cnocbuicnocbui Posts: 3,613member
    I'm ordering what use ce there is for a display that wraps all the way around a cylinder.  Advertising display stand at a mall or in an Apple Store.  But a portable product?  Like an iPad?  Dubious.  
    A wicked iTunes visualliser would be one use.
  • Reply 9 of 15
    Mr_GreyMr_Grey Posts: 118member
    I'm ordering what use ce there is for a display that wraps all the way around a cylinder.  Advertising display stand at a mall or in an Apple Store.  But a portable product?  Like an iPad?  Dubious.  
    I think it would be perfect for an iPod.  It's just the kind of glitzy, weird, futuristic thing that would keep people interested in them and buying them.  
    I would bet if this is a real product that it will be a kind of "last hurrah" for the iPod line.  
    am8449
  • Reply 10 of 15
    foggyhillfoggyhill Posts: 4,658member
    cnocbui said:
    I thought patents were based on implementation? Are you saying Apple is attempting to patent something with the exact same implementation  as someone else?
    4th item: The invention must be non-obvious

    http://www.bitlaw.com/patent/requirements.html


    This is not an obvious implementation. Patents go to how you do it, not what you do.
    If I say I'm creating a car engine that runs on gas, it's obvious;
    if it does 1000 miles on a pint of gas at 30mph using a brand new type of process, well that motor and its process is patentable (probably two patents here).
  • Reply 11 of 15
    fallenjtfallenjt Posts: 3,833member
    There you go, Sog. Foldable phone is possible soon.
  • Reply 12 of 15
    noivadnoivad Posts: 186member
    Mark my words: the drawing is a smoke screen for a wrist mounted iDevice bracelet. More surface (display) area than an iPhone & all the convenience of the Apple Watch. Will you have to turn your wrist to use it the extended surface? Yes. Will that be leveraged to make interacting with it even easier? Yup.
    am8449
  • Reply 13 of 15
    foggyhillfoggyhill Posts: 4,658member
    noivad said:
    Mark my words: the drawing is a smoke screen for a wrist mounted iDevice bracelet. More surface (display) area than an iPhone & all the convenience of the Apple Watch. Will you have to turn your wrist to use it the extended surface? Yes. Will that be leveraged to make interacting with it even easier? Yup.
    Only for mega-nerds... Bracelets might work if they don't look like a cheap hospital bracelet when you're not using it.
    Like all wearables, it should not look like crap.
  • Reply 14 of 15
    noivadnoivad Posts: 186member
    foggyhill said:
    noivad said:
    Mark my words: the drawing is a smoke screen for a wrist mounted iDevice bracelet. More surface (display) area than an iPhone & all the convenience of the Apple Watch. Will you have to turn your wrist to use it the extended surface? Yes. Will that be leveraged to make interacting with it even easier? Yup.
    Only for mega-nerds... Bracelets might work if they don't look like a cheap hospital bracelet when you're not using it.
    Like all wearables, it should not look like crap.
    We’re talking about Apple, not Google nor Microsoft here. So, the design will be minimalistic & look upscale as all iDevices thus far, no doubt. Expect the finger print ID sensor/home button to be discreet (on the inside or inner wrist) and maybe even the only button & that’s it. (you’ll charge through induction & need a BT headset to get audio (they’re really inexpensive now—$50 for multipoint BT HS) Expect the display to be thinner than any iPhone thus far thanks to more surface area for battery which will add to its sleek look.

    Once a few top 40 pop & hip hop stars are spotted wearing them, any preconception of “high geekery” (like the preconceptions of the virtual keyboard in the first iPhone) will melt away. 
  • Reply 15 of 15
    am8449am8449 Posts: 341member
    noivad said:
    Mark my words: the drawing is a smoke screen for a wrist mounted iDevice bracelet. More surface (display) area than an iPhone & all the convenience of the Apple Watch. Will you have to turn your wrist to use it the extended surface? Yes. Will that be leveraged to make interacting with it even easier? Yup.
    Interesting idea.

    After reading the article, I was wondering how Apple could use this tech, and you answered my question. 

    Since the diagram shows a headphone jack and what looks like a hold button, I'd guess that Mr_Grey has the right idea.
    Mr_Grey said:
    I think it would be perfect for an iPod.  It's just the kind of glitzy, weird, futuristic thing that would keep people interested in them and buying them.  
    I would bet if this is a real product that it will be a kind of "last hurrah" for the iPod line.  
    I think this Apple may combine the functions of the iPod Nano + iPod Shuffle along with this new tech, and turn the new device into a wearable necklace. And after this "test run", the tech would make its way in a more polished manner into a wristband-style version of the Apple Watch.
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