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A new patent shows that Apple is exploring a rollable screen form factor. The document shares some details on how Apple plans to introduce protection to the display.

Apple’s device offerings are still limited to conventional displays, but it could expand to more form factors in the future. Aside from the rumored foldable iPhone, a newly granted patent to the Cupertino giant reveals that the company is also considering rollable displays for its devices. It was filed in October 2022 but was just published last week. According to the document, the “rollable display” will be employed on an unspecified device.

“The display may be moved between an unrolled state in which the display is planar and a rolled state in which a rollable portion of the display is rolled up for storage,” the document reads. “The display may have a display panel with a pixel array that produces images and a transparent protective layer that overlaps the pixel array.”

While the concept sounds promising, producing a display that can withstand repeated rolling action can be challenging. With this, Apple shares in the document that it will incorporate a thin glass on the surface that will serve as a protection for the display itself.

“The transparent protective layer may contain a layer of glass,” the document adds. “The glass layer may be locally thinned in the rollable portion to facilitate rolling of the display. The display may be configured to apply compressive stress to the outwardly facing surface of the glass layer when the display is rolled up. Compressive stress in the outwardly facing glass surface may help prevent damage to the display when the display is bent during rolling operations.”

This is not the first patent Apple considered the idea of a flexible display. In June, it was also reported that the tech giant has a patent for a rollable display that users can wear. In the document, Apple shares the concept as an applicable tech for its Apple Watch. In the illustration, the watch is illustrated to have extended parts that will also be made as serve as screens. The notable detail about it is that the extended screens will be “flexible,” consuming some areas that are conventionally for straps. The document also notes that aside from wearables, the flexible screen can also be applied to other devices. It says that “the display panel may be incorporated into a television display that is rollable or foldable into and out of a housing.”

If Apple chooses to pursue this patent, it won’t be the first to apply this on televisions or handheld devices. For instance, LG already uses this in its Signature OLED R television model, which hides the screen inside a rectangular box. In July last year, a video (the original copy is no longer available) of an unreleased LG Rollable phone also leaked. Other competitors already exploring the same concept include Samsung and Motorola.


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