Apple patent filing hints at more flexible iPhones and other devices

Personally, I’m dubious that Apple will ever release foldable iPhones. However, as a new patent filing (number 10,318,061) for “flexible electronic devices,” we may see more “bendable” smartphones (and perhaps iPads and Apple Watches) from the tech giant.

The biggest advantage of such devices is that they would be less susceptible to damage. Currently, most gadgets are made of rigid housing structures that are more prone to break. In the patent filing, Apple also notes that bendable displays could be made using flexible, organic light-emitting diode (OLED) display tech.

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Here’s the summary of the invention: “A flexible electronic device may include a flexible display, a flexible housing and one or more flexible internal components configured to allow the flexible electronic device to be deformed. Flexible displays may include flexible display layers, flexible touch-sensitive layers, and flexible display cover layers. The flexible housing may be a multi-stable flexible housing having one or more stable positions. The flexible housing may include a configurable support structure that, when engaged, provides a rigid support structure for the flexible housing. 

"The flexible internal components may include flexible batteries, flexible printed circuits or other flexible components. A flexible battery may include flexible and rigid portions or may include a lubricious separator layer that provides flexibility for the flexible battery. A flexible printed circuit may include flexible and rigid portions or openings that allow some rigid portions to flex with respect to other rigid portions.”

Of course, Apple files for — and is granted — lots of patents by the U.S. Patent & Trademark Office. Many are for inventions that never see the light of day. However, you never can tell which ones will materialize in a real product.