Apple eyeing electronic devices with flexible displays
TweetFollow Us on Twitter

Apple eyeing electronic devices with flexible displays



An Apple patent (number 2012042592 for an electronic device with flexible displays has appeared at the U.S. Patent & Trademark Office. We may be looking at future iPhones and iPads -- perhaps even Macs -- with "bendable" screens and tactile keyboards.

Per the patent electronic devices may be provided that contain flexible displays and internal components. An internal component may be positioned under the flexible display. The internal component may be an output device such as a speaker that transmits sound through the flexible display or an actuator that deforms the display in a way that is sensed by a user.

The internal component may also be a microphone or pressure sensor that receives sound or pressure information through the flexible display. Structural components may be used to permanently or temporarily deform the flexible display to provide tactile feedback to a user of the device.

Here's Apple's background and summary of the invention: "This relates generally to flexible displays, and more particularly, to electronic devices with flexible displays. Electronic devices such as portable computers and cellular telephones are often provided with rigid displays made from rigid display structures. For example, a liquid crystal display (LCD) may be formed from a stack of rigid display structures such as a thin-film transistor layer with display pixels for providing visual feedback to a user, a color filter layer for providing the display pixels with color, a touch screen panel for gathering touch input from a user, and a cover glass layer for protecting the display and internal components.

"Conventional devices may also have input-output components such as buttons, microphones, speakers, and other components. Openings are commonly formed in the housing of a conventional device to accommodate operation of these input-output components. For example, openings may be formed in a device housing to accommodate speaker and microphone ports and openings may be formed in a display cover glass layer to accommodate a speaker port and menu button.

"The inclusion of these openings to accommodate input-output components may not be desirable. For example, the presence of openings may be aesthetically unappealing, may raise the risk of damage from environmental exposure, and may reduce the amount of active display area that is available to display images for a user. It would therefore be desirable to be able to provide improved electronic devices.

"Electronic devices may be provided with flexible displays. The flexible displays may be composed of one or more flexible layers and may be mounted on top of or under a cover layer. For example, a flexible display may be mounted on top of a rigid support member or may be mounted on the underside of a rigid cover layer.

"Electronic devices may also be provided with user interface components (input-output components) such as buttons, microphones, speakers, piezoelectric actuators (for receiving electrical input from a user or tactile feedback to users), or other actuators such as vibrators, pressure sensors, and other components. These components may be mounted under portions of a flexible display.

"During operation of the electronic device, the flexibility of the display may allow a user to interact with the component through the display. For example, sound waves from a speaker or localized vibrations from an actuator in an electronic device may pass through the flexible display. The flexible display may also allow an internal microphone, pressure sensor, or force sensor (or other internal components) to receive external input. For example, a user may deflect a flexible display using a finger or other external object, barometric pressure may be monitored through the flexible display, or sound waves may be received through the flexible display.

"Components may receive input or may supply output through a physically deformed portion of the flexible display (e.g., a deformation that occurs when a user presses on the display to compress the component). In some configurations, a portion of the flexible display may serve as a membrane that forms part of a microphone, speaker, pressure sensor, or other electronic component.

"The ability of a user to compress a component such as a button switch by deforming the flexible display may allow the area of a device available for visual display to be enlarged. For example, the active area of a flexible display may overlap a component such as a button or speaker.

"If desired, a flexible display may be deformed by an internal component to provide audio or tactile feedback to a user. For example, structures inside an electronic device may be pressed against portions of a flexible display to temporarily create an outline for a virtual on-screen button or to temporarily create a grid of ridges that serve to delineate the locations of keys in a keyboard (keypad).

"Further features of the invention, its nature and various advantages will be more apparent from the accompanying drawings and the following detailed description of the preferred embodiments."

The inventors are Fletcher R. Rothkopf, Scott A. Myers and Stephen Brian Lynch.

 
AAPL
$99.02
Apple Inc.
+1.35
GOOG
$590.60
Google Inc.
+1.58
MSFT
$43.97
Microsoft Corpora
-0.53
MacNews Search:
Community Search:

Latest Forum Discussions

See All
view counter

view counter
view counter
view counter
view counter
view counter
view counter

Traps n’ Gemstones Review
Traps n’ Gemstones Review By Campbell Bird on July 28th, 2014 Our Rating: :: CASTLEVANIA JONESUniversal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad Fight mummies, dig tunnels, and ride a runaway minecart to discover ancient secrets in this throwback exploration game.   | Read more »
The Phantom PI Mission Apparition Review
The Phantom PI Mission Apparition Review By Jordan Minor on July 28th, 2014 Our Rating: :: GHOSTS BUSTEDUniversal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad The Phantom PI is an exceedingly clever and well-crafted adventure game.   | Read more »
More Stubies Are Coming Your Way in a Ne...
More Stubies Are Coming Your Way in a New Update Posted by Jessica Fisher on July 28th, 2014 [ permalink ] Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad | Read more »
The Great Prank War Review
The Great Prank War Review By Nadia Oxford on July 28th, 2014 Our Rating: :: PRANKING IS SERIOUS BUSINESSUniversal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad Though short, The Great Prank War offers an interesting and fun mix of action and tower defense. Get your fish out.   | Read more »
Marvel Contest of Champions Announced at...
Marvel Contest of Champions Announced at Comic-Con Posted by Jennifer Allen on July 28th, 2014 [ permalink ] Announced over the weekend at San Diego Comic-Con was the fairly exciting looking Marvel Contest of Champions. | Read more »
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Review
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Review By Jennifer Allen on July 28th, 2014 Our Rating: :: DULL SWIPINGUniversal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad The pizza power is weak when it comes to this Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles game.   | Read more »
Exploration Focused Puzzle Game Beatbudd...
Exploration Focused Puzzle Game Beatbuddy Set to Make Transition from PC to iOS this September Posted by Jennifer Allen on July 28th, 2014 [ permalink ] | Read more »
PlanetHD
PlanetHD By Nadia Oxford on July 28th, 2014 Our Rating: :: SPACE MADNESSUniversal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad PlanetHD will keep players busy for a while, though its unpredictable physics are a handful to deal with.   | Read more »
This Week at 148Apps: July 21-25, 2014
Another Week of Expert App Reviews   At 148Apps, we help you sort through the great ocean of apps to find the ones we think you’ll like and the ones you’ll need. Our top picks become Editor’s Choice, our stamp of approval for apps with that little extra something special. Want to see what we’ve been up to this week? Take a look below for a... | Read more »
Reddme for iPhone - The Reddit Client (...
Reddme for iPhone - The Reddit Client 1.0 Device: iOS iPhone Category: News Price: $.99, Version: 1.0 (iTunes) Description: Reddme for iPhone is an iOS 7-optimized Reddit client that offers a refreshing new way to experience Reddit on your iPhone. Sporting a gorgeous, intuitive design and packing more amazing features than we can... | Read more »
All contents are Copyright 1984-2010 by Xplain Corporation. All rights reserved. Theme designed by Icreon.