Apple has Won a Patent for Devices that provide users with an Expandable, Scrolling Display
Today the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office officially granted Apple a patent that relates to a possible future iPhone (or iPad) that could provide users with the ability to expand the display when needed.
Our cover graphic shows the CEO of Samsung, who makes flexible/slidable displays, showing off a prototype of a slide-out display for a future tablet. Below is the video of the slidable display from Samsung prototype.
Apple's granted patent shows the display being able to expand from the right side and/or the top of the device. Apple competitor OPPO released a Tweet with a GIF of a future smartphone with a display that slides out from the right side as presented below.
Here's how we roll #TBT pic.twitter.com/0N0AmeeRlM— OPPO (@oppo) March 2, 2023
In a nutshell, Apple's granted patent covers possible future electronic devices having a housing with portions that slide relative to each other. A display may be supported on a surface of the housing such as on a front face of the housing. The housing portions may slide between an unexpanded state in which the display has an unexpanded viewable area on the front face and an expanded state in which the display has an expanded viewable area on the front face that is greater than the unexpanded viewable area.
The housing portions may have interior regions that contain electrical components. The display may be formed from a flexible display substrate. A portion of a flexible display may be stored in an interior region of the housing when the housing is in the unexpanded state. In the unexpanded state, the flexible display may have one or more bends and may double back on itself one or more times.
Apple's patent FIG. 1 below is perspective view of an illustrative electronic device that illustrates that a device display could either be expanded from the top or from the side. Although an iPhone or iPad is the likely target of the patent, Apple doesn't want the invention limited to just those devices.
According to Apple, ridiculous or not, the invention could technically apply to these other devices: a laptop computer, a computer monitor containing an embedded computer, a tablet computer, a desktop computer, a cellular telephone, a media player, or other handheld or portable electronic device, a smaller device such as a wristwatch device, a wristband device, a pendant device, a headphone or earpiece device, a head-mounted device such as glasses, goggles, a helmet, or other equipment worn on a user's head, or other wearable or miniature device, a television, a computer display that does not contain an embedded computer, a gaming device, a navigation device, an embedded system such as a system in which equipment is mounted in a kiosk, in an automobile, airplane, or other vehicle, a removable external case for electronic equipment, an accessory such as a remote control, computer mouse, track pad, wireless or wired keyboard, or other accessory, and/or equipment that implements the functionality of two or more of these devices.
Apple's patent FIGS. 14 – 16 above illustrate devices with a slidable display .FIG. 14 is a cross-sectional side view of an illustrative electronic device with a sliding display; FIGS. 15 and 16 are perspective views of the illustrative electronic device of FIG. 14 in unexpanded and expanded configurations.
For more details and Apple's 20 technical patent claims, review granted patent # US 11602062 B2.
- Michael Wittenberg: Senior Product Design Engineer
- Tatsuya Sano: Senior Product Design Engineer