Apple invents futuristic digital scroll-like device with retractable, roll-up display

Posted:
in General Discussion edited March 2017
An Apple patent application published on Thursday describes a portable device with a flexible OLED screen capable of retracting into two hollow casings, suggesting the company is looking into alternative hardware formats for flagship products like iPhone and iPad.


Source: USPTO


Apple's patent for "Electronic devices with retractable displays," as published by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, details what can best be described as a futuristic digital scroll.

The design allows for two elongated, barrel-shaped housings into which are crammed the retractable screen, processing unit, cameras and other components. Like current Apple devices, each housing can be crafted out of a single piece of aluminum or other suitable material, including glass, ceramic, fiber composite or plastic.

Electrical components like speakers and microphones might be mounted in alignment with openings or microperforations disposed in either the left or right housing.

Cameras are also mounted within one or both of the elongated chassis, positioned behind optically transparent windows. Interestingly, the design allows for left and right cameras to be spaced relatively far apart from one another, an arrangement ideal for capturing stereoscopic images.

As hinted at in the application's title, Apple's proposed device is specifically designed to accommodate a retractable display. The elongated left/right housings are left intentionally hollow and contain rollers to receive the flexible screen when it is retracted. Said rollers might also be hollow so as to allow for the insertion of operating hardware like circuit boards, system memory, storage, vibration motors and other components.




Alternate embodiments forego a roller mechanism in place of static internal structures around which the display naturally coils.

When deployed, the OLED screen unfurls from the roller barrels, or pillar structures, out of slits in each housing and locks into place with the help of support slats. In some embodiments, the supports include a series of bistable metal members that become rigid when forced into a flat state. Snapped back into a flexible state, these same support members are able to bend with the stowed display.

Upon releasing a latch mechanism, the screen coils back into its housing, aided by an internal spring located in one or both housing rollers. A static or rotating brush clears the screen of debris before it slides back into the sheath.

Finally, magnets hold the support slats, housing and other movable components together when the device is closed.




Considering Apple's contemporary design themes and the current state of the art, a device similar to the one described in today's patent filing is unlikely to come out of Cupertino anytime soon. Beyond design considerations, hardware supply is a significant hurdle to overcome.

While extremely flexible OLED panels do exist, as do manufacturing techniques for the same, display makers lack the production capabilities to sustain a product like iPhone. As it is, OLED screens bound for Apple's rumored next-generation iPhone are said to be in extremely tight supply.

Apple's patent application for a device with retractable display was first filed for in August 2015 and credits Zhen Zhang and Paul S. Drzaic as its inventors.
«1

Comments

  • Reply 1 of 29
    JanNLJanNL Posts: 327member
    After thousands of years, the papyrus roll is still cool!
    YvLyboredumbtechprod1gy80s_Apple_Guyvukasikaquadra 610StrangeDayswatto_cobrajony0
  • Reply 2 of 29
    Interesting because: (1) new product category, and (2) a clever way to provide a big viewing surface in a small physical footprint.
    watto_cobrajony0
  • Reply 3 of 29
    and all over Asia teams are hard at work making copies of the device outlined in the Patent.
    Who will be the first to get something on the market?
    When will Kuo forecast this to be included in the 2018 iPhone? Next week perhaps?

    BTW, this looks like the cross section of an old 110 format film canister... ????


    mike1SpamSandwichwatto_cobrajony0
  • Reply 4 of 29
    Finally, someone's been watching Red Planet.  I've been coveting Val Kilmer's scroll device since 2000.

    techprod1gy80s_Apple_Guyvukasikaquadra 610watto_cobra
  • Reply 5 of 29
    SRRiceSRRice Posts: 1member
    Anyone remember Earth: Final Conflict?
    80s_Apple_Guyquadra 610watto_cobra
  • Reply 6 of 29
    MacProMacPro Posts: 19,758member
    and all over Asia teams are hard at work making copies of the device outlined in the Patent.
    Who will be the first to get something on the market?
    When will Kuo forecast this to be included in the 2018 iPhone? Next week perhaps?

    BTW, this looks like the cross section of an old 110 format film canister... ????


    If I were Tim I'd patent 'red herrings' once a day!  ;)
    SpamSandwichwatto_cobrasteveau
  • Reply 7 of 29
    freediverxfreediverx Posts: 1,423member

    Now where have I seen this before? 


    Mission to Mars (2000)


    edited March 2017 quadra 610xzuwatto_cobra
  • Reply 8 of 29
    and all over Asia teams are hard at work making copies of the device outlined in the Patent.
    Who will be the first to get something on the market?
    When will Kuo forecast this to be included in the 2018 iPhone? Next week perhaps?

    BTW, this looks like the cross section of an old 110 format film canister... ????


    Actually, Samsung had already presented this concept in a video back in 2012 at CES. So, Asia Teams have been working on this since few years. You can check the video in YouTube.

    However, I am genuinely interested in this product now. Since Apple is behind this, the tech would be mainstream and reliable. And I don't care who copied who, I just want a great product from Apple.
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 9 of 29
    mobiusmobius Posts: 380member

    Now where have I seen this before? 


    Mission to Mars (2000)


    A great film, but let down by that awful ending!
    edited March 2017 watto_cobra
  • Reply 10 of 29
    bloggerblogbloggerblog Posts: 2,469member
    and all over Asia teams are hard at work making copies of the device outlined in the Patent.
    Who will be the first to get something on the market?
    When will Kuo forecast this to be included in the 2018 iPhone? Next week perhaps?

    BTW, this looks like the cross section of an old 110 format film canister... ????


    You're right, I found this on an Android forum:#

    edited March 2017
  • Reply 11 of 29
    and all over Asia teams are hard at work making copies of the device outlined in the Patent.
    Who will be the first to get something on the market?
    When will Kuo forecast this to be included in the 2018 iPhone? Next week perhaps?

    BTW, this looks like the cross section of an old 110 format film canister... ????


    You're right, I found this on an Android forum:#

    One more
     
  • Reply 12 of 29
    oakhammdoakhammd Posts: 21member
    and all over Asia teams are hard at work making copies of the device outlined in the Patent.
    Who will be the first to get something on the market?
    When will Kuo forecast this to be included in the 2018 iPhone? Next week perhaps?

    BTW, this looks like the cross section of an old 110 format film canister... ????


    Actually, Samsung had already presented this concept in a video back in 2012 at CES. So, Asia Teams have been working on this since few years. You can check the video in YouTube.

    However, I am genuinely interested in this product now. Since Apple is behind this, the tech would be mainstream and reliable. And I don't care who copied who, I just want a great product from Apple.

    Could you please supply a reference?

    If I recall, I know they have presented a flexible OLED, which isnot entirely new, but the patent Apple has applied for is as stated, "Apple's proposed device is specifically designed to accommodate a retractable display."
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 13 of 29
    oakhammd said:
    and all over Asia teams are hard at work making copies of the device outlined in the Patent.
    Who will be the first to get something on the market?
    When will Kuo forecast this to be included in the 2018 iPhone? Next week perhaps?

    BTW, this looks like the cross section of an old 110 format film canister... ????


    Actually, Samsung had already presented this concept in a video back in 2012 at CES. So, Asia Teams have been working on this since few years. You can check the video in YouTube.

    However, I am genuinely interested in this product now. Since Apple is behind this, the tech would be mainstream and reliable. And I don't care who copied who, I just want a great product from Apple.

    Could you please supply a reference?

    If I recall, I know they have presented a flexible OLED, which isnot entirely new, but the patent Apple has applied for is as stated, "Apple's proposed device is specifically designed to accommodate a retractable display."
    Did you see the full vid that I posted above?
  • Reply 14 of 29
    tundraboytundraboy Posts: 1,888member
    Sorry, even for an Apple fan, I would find it ridiculous if the PTO grants this patent.  This is just an assemblage of already existing technology including spring-loaded ratcheting roll-up window blinds which in tech years is older than Methuselah.
    edited March 2017
  • Reply 15 of 29
    mobius said:

    Now where have I seen this before? 


    Mission to Mars (2000)


    A great film, but let down by that awful ending!
    The cool thing with it being transparent is the ability to also use for Augmented Reality...instead of wearing goggles or glasses you hold this up to glean additional information about targeted environment...very cool!
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 16 of 29
    There is a scene in the last year's Star Trek movie where Dr. McCoy unfurls a display similar to what is described in this patent.

    When I saw the movie I thought how cool it would if Apple developed something like it for healthcare. 

    Thanks out to others who showed even earlier concepts of the patent. 
  • Reply 17 of 29
    vukasikavukasika Posts: 103member
    I just want a Stargate.  Can Apple please make them an accessory for the new iPad Pro?
  • Reply 18 of 29
    SpamSandwichSpamSandwich Posts: 33,407member
    Well, this is obviously not going to happen.
  • Reply 19 of 29
    Well, if this is Apple's ultimate plan for the iPad, I'm glad it's not going to happen for awhile. If ever. Cause Unless you're going to Mars, it really looks like a stupid design. But I guess there's a limit to how thin Apple can make the iPad, so a design like this was inevitable. Still, I seriously doubt it'd be anything but a niche product if it ever did become reality. I just don't see the practicality of such a device for the average user. So it would take up less space in your bag. Big whoop. How would you draw on it with an Apple Pencil? Or type on it while holding it? Or how would you keep a flexible screen sturdy while using it without having to lay it flat on the table? I'm all for pushing the envelope and innovating. That's always cool. But this just seems silly.
    SpamSandwich
  • Reply 20 of 29
    damn_its_hotdamn_its_hot Posts: 1,209member

    Now where have I seen this before? 


    Mission to Mars (2000)




    Ah ha... does the patent mention the prior art? Of course the one on Mars had AR...
Sign In or Register to comment.