October 10, 2021 4:37:23 pm
A new patent application by Apple suggests the company could be working on a ‘expandable’ phone design with a rollable screen. The patent suggests the design could involve a screen that bends inside the device itself, around a roller.
First spotted by BGR, the patent, filed by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) is mentioned as “Electronic Devices Having Sliding Expandable Displays.”The patent also mentions that a portion of the flexible display goes inside the phone casing when in the unexpanded state, suggesting that the display may be bent or rolled inside.
Apple is not the first brand to go towards rollable screens, which are expected to be the next biggest step towards future smartphone form factors after foldable screens. Samsung received a patent for a phone with a motorised rolling mechanism back in 2019 and another for a patent that lets users expand the size of the display on their devices by up to 50 per cent.
Why are brands floating towards rollable screens?
One of the biggest issues with the more complex forms of smartphone screens you see today are that they use hinges. The most crucial part also becomes the Achilles’ heel in these products as was best displayed in the first-gen Samsung Galaxy Fold. The hinge serves as a perfect opening for tiny dust particles to get inside and over time, compromise the mechanism.
However, unlike foldable phones, rolling screens do not use a hinge. With the hinge gone, these devices also need not worry about the wear and tear associated with it. As a bonus, a hinge-less screen also means a crease-less screen.
However, the company currently is likely working on its foldable iPhone which won’t launch until 2024, as per analyst Ming Chi Kuo.
The foldable iPhone will be a likely product in the near future, and this particular patent could be used in a much later device. It is also possible that Apple never makes a phone with such a design, which is also something that happens with a lot of patents.
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