Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) has reportedly set its sights on a ground-breaking concept for future iPhone and iPad screens.
The tech giant is exploring the development of roller screens that can be effortlessly expanded or contracted by users at the ends to make the display large or small as per their requirements, according to Apple Insider.
This concept may not come to fruition in this year’s iPhone 15 launch — and it may never happen at all, states the report.
Apple’s initial exploration of roller displays can be traced back to a 2015 patent application, which depicted a retractable cover providing active screen protection. Then, in 2017, the first sign of a true roll-up display for iPhones emerged, followed by a distinct variation of the concept in 2020, stated the report.
Now, Apple has introduced a patent application titled “Electronic Device With Flexible Display Structures,” which delves deeper into this line of innovation.
“Displays are often formed from rigid structures such as glass substrates. This can make it challenging to form compact electronic devices with desired features,” says the patent, according to the Apple Insider report. “[But a] flexible display may be wrapped around one or more rollers.”
As is customary in patent applications, Apple diligently crafts its language to encompass the broadest range of interpretations for its concept. There are recurring mentions of its potential use in various devices, such as “a cellular telephone, tablet computer, wristwatch device etc.”
Though the patent application’s illustrations do not provide a clear view of how the screen would be seamlessly integrated into the limited space of an iPhone or iPad, the drawings do vividly demonstrate the potential compactness of a roller system.
Apple has been rumored to have been experimenting with the idea of foldable devices internally. According to a patent application in March, Apple may enable foldable iPhones with self-retracting displays.
Analyst Ming-Chi Kuo, too, has said in the past that Apple’s foldable iPad is expected to be introduced in 2024. But details about these devices remain unclear at this point.
“Flexible displays may be bent about a bend axis to allow an electronic device to be folded and may be rolled around rollers,” said Apple in its statement about the upcoming invention. “This allows the flexible display to be stored in an electronic device housing when a compact device arrangement is desired and to be pulled from within the electronic device housing when an enlarged display area is desired.”
The patent application provided some illustration of two-part devices that the show screen bending around or being folded into one of them.
The true roller system focuses on key section that shows corss sections of a device where all or the majority of the screen can be held inside the device as needed.
Produced in association with Benzinga
Edited by Alberto Arellano and Joseph Hammond