Apple patent filing further details folding iPhone with wraparound display

Posted:
in General Discussion edited December 2016
An Apple invention published Thursday fleshes out the folding iPhone concept revealed in a separate patent grant last week, adding features like a wraparound display and touch sensitive structures to all external surfaces.


Source: USPTO


As published by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, Apple's patent application for "Electronic Devices With Display and Touch Sensor Structures" describes a touch capable portable device made substantially of glass, sapphire or other suitable transparent material.

Of note, the proposed device features curved glass sidewalls under which are disposed touch sensitive displays, a design that echoes a wraparound display patent assigned to Apple earlier this year. More specifically, a main display structure situated on the phone's front face extends beyond traditional border regions and onto the curved sides.

Optionally, Apple considers options for other sidewall shapes like a half-oval or steep angular slopes. The designs are akin to those implemented by smartphone rival Samsung in the Galaxy Edge series.


Potential sidewall designs (left) and folding mechanisms.


In some embodiments, the device incorporates touch layers on all surfaces, including the rear wall. Very few OEMs have built rear-facing multitouch controls into their portable hardware for fear of confusing users. Microsoft experimented with similar solutions behind the scenes, but the technology never made it into a shipping product. Further, one of the more successful consumer options, Sony's PS Vita, was notoriously underutilized by third party developers.

Beyond an all-touch surface, Apple's document goes on to say that a curved wall iPhone might also feature an enclosure allowing the device to bend or fold along one or more axes. Most of the discussion revolves around a completely transparent single-bend design which folds over onto itself, much like a clamshell iPhone detailed in a patent grant uncovered by AppleInsider last week, but other techniques like double folds are also mentioned.




The application goes on to summarize multi-bend implementations and the necessary underpinnings that would facilitate such designs, including hinge-type, accordion-style and other flexible structures.




Whether Apple intends to release a curved screen iPhone, let alone one that folds in half, is unclear. The company's next-generation handset is expected to feature an edge-to-edge OLED display, glass sandwich design and wireless charging, but none of the exotic technologies outlined in today's patent.

Apple's curved wall, foldable iPhone patent application was first filed for in May 2016 and credits Isaac W. Chan, Chun-Hao Tung, Fletcher R. Rothkopf, Sunggu Kang and John Z. Zhong as its inventors.

Comments

  • Reply 1 of 8
    irelandireland Posts: 17,620member
    It's just a patent.
    cornchip
  • Reply 2 of 8
    peteopeteo Posts: 365member
    Looks like the West World foldable tablets 

     
    Click on the link to see it animated 
    http://futuregif.net/post/153522272249/multi-touch-foldable-tablet-display-movie
    I'd buy that
    I suspect battery limitations are really the only thing holding this back

    edited December 2016
  • Reply 3 of 8
    peteo said:
    Looks like the West World foldable tablets 

     
    Click on the link to see it animated 
    http://futuregif.net/post/153522272249/multi-touch-foldable-tablet-display-movie
    I'd buy that
    I suspect battery limitations are really the only thing holding this back

    The Westworld device is interesting except:

    1. The device's dimensions are too large when folded. It looks larger than an iPhone Plus.

    2. The device is too flimsy at the folds when extended into tablet size. This could become a nuisance when operating.
  • Reply 4 of 8
    fallenjtfallenjt Posts: 3,976member
    sog35 said:
    This is the future.

    People who say smartphone design and innovation is done are stupid.  We have at least 5-10 years more of design innovation.

    The next 4-6 years will be all about shrinking bezels and replacing buttons with some other type of technology. The goal is a phone with zero buttons and zero ports. Totally seemless. 

    Once that is mastered we will have 5 inch phones that are more pocketable than the old 4s.

    The next step is foldable displays. That will allow phones to have 7 inch screens but be folded to the size of a iPhone5.

    very exciting
    Battery technology hasn't been changed...so, no freaking foldable phone unless it runs on plutonium.
  • Reply 5 of 8
    i dont get this... where is the inovation here? foldable Display and PCBs and electronics will be amazing... no doubt. but just patenting different folding patters? anyone checked Origami lately?
  • Reply 6 of 8
    sog35 said:
    This is the future.

    People who say smartphone design and innovation is done are stupid.  We have at least 5-10 years more of design innovation.

    The next 4-6 years will be all about shrinking bezels and replacing buttons with some other type of technology. The goal is a phone with zero buttons and zero ports. Totally seemless. 

    Once that is mastered we will have 5 inch phones that are more pocketable than the old 4s.

    The next step is foldable displays. That will allow phones to have 7 inch screens but be folded to the size of a iPhone5.

    very exciting
    Agreed, but I also think 3D without glasses will come of age and be part of the upcoming innovations.
  • Reply 7 of 8
    jimzipjimzip Posts: 444member
    Serious question, do Apple protect these things? Because ... I keep seeing copycat designs from every other tech company and never a peep from Apple. I mean, this HTC Honor sitting on the table here (not mine!) ;) runs Android & the OS looks pretty much identical to iOS in some ways, including icons, home-screen layout, folders, the blurry pull-down notification center and search. And as far as hardware goes, I see Apple copycats everywhere as well. Why doesn't Apple pull them up on all this stuff? What's the point of patents if you can't stop copying?

    Jimzip :D
    watto_cobra
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