A new patent filing and job listing indicate that Apple is interested in implementing flexible components in future products, which could include an iWatch device and a bendable iPhone, and even flexible iPads.
On Wednesday, a new Apple patent application was discovered by Patently Apple, revealing that Apple is investigating advanced flexible display and component features.
Future iDevices could have flexible housing that is made possible by hinges, fluid- or air-filled pockets or elastomeric portions, and internal components including batteries could be flexible too. The housing could be made from materials such as plastic, thin glass, giber composites, thin metal, fabric, silicone or other suitable materials, Apple’s patent says.
Sensors could be built-in to detect when a user is flexing a device, in order to provide user input via this method. For example, while playing a game, users could twist or bend their iOS device in a particular way to control characters or carry out other in-game actions. Additionally, twisting or bending an iPhone, for example, could activate sleep mode, launch an app, change the volume, answer your phone etc.
The introduction of flexible elements to iOS devices could make them sturdier, by providing impact resistance through the ability to bend or deform while absorbing the impact of being dropped, for example.
Meanwhile, according to AppleInsider, Apple has this week removed a job listing from its website that revealed that the company was searching for a hardware engineer with experience in flexible displays.
The listing, for a ‘Senior Optical Engineer’, was originally posted on Apple’s website on 1 April, and sought a display specialist to head up the “investigation on emerging technologies such as high optical efficiency LCD, AMOLED and flexible display” in order to help the company improve overall display optical performance.
Apple pulled the listing from its website on Wednesday, which could indicate that the company has found a candidate to fill the position.
Neither the patent nor the job listing specify a device in which such flexible components could be used, but it’s been widely speculated that Apple is working on an iWatch with a flexible display, as detailed in another Apple patent filing that was published earlier this year.
In January, Apple rival Samsung showed off its new foldable, rollable ‘Youm’ smartphone displays, proving that bendable smartphones are getting closer to reality, so a flexible iPhone may also be on the cards.
The technology described in Apple’s broad patent could also be applied to the iPad, aspects of the MacBook, and other future iDevices.