Apple patent for ‘device with flexible display structures’ hints at ‘foldable’ iPhone

It’s one of dozens of such patents the tech giant has been granted

Apple has been granted a patent (number 11,044,822) for an “electronic device with flexible display structures.” It’s another of several patents that hints at a foldable — or at least flexible — iPhone. It could also involve other Apple devices, including iPads and even Mac laptops.

In the patent data, Apple notes that — as we all know — electronic devices such as laptop computers, cellular telephones, and other equipment are often provided with displays. Displays contain arrays of pixels that present images to a user. Displays are often formed from rigid structures such as glass substrates. 

Apple says this can make it challenging to form compact electronic devices with desired features. The tech giant says that a flexible display may be the solution.

Here’s the summary of the patent: “An electronic device may have a flexible display. The electronic device may have housing portions that are rotatably coupled to each other so that the flexible display may fold along one or more bend axes. A device may have rollers that store a flexible display and that help deploy the display from within a housing when additional display area is desired. 

“A touch screen in a housing may be overlapped by a flexible display that has been scrolled outwardly from the housing. Wireless transmitter and receiver circuitry may be used to convey image data to display driver circuitry. The display driver circuitry may display images on a pixel array in a flexible display based on the image data. Magnets may be used to outwardly bias edge-mounted bistable support structures to help prevent a rolled flexible display from wrinkling.”

The accompanying graphic is a perspective view of an illustrative device having with a flexible display extended between housing structures.

Dennis Sellers
the authorDennis Sellers
Dennis Sellers is the editor/publisher of Apple World Today. He’s been an “Apple journalist” since 1995 (starting with the first big Apple news site, MacCentral). He loves to read, run, play sports, and watch movies.