The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office officially published a series of 66 newly granted patents for Apple Inc. today. In this particular report we cover Apple's patent relating to future foldable iDevices such as an iPad.
relate to techniques for forming flexible cover sheets. In particular, cover sheets may be formed to facilitate localized bending or flexing without producing unacceptable levels of internal stress. The embodiments described herein can be used to manufacture cover sheets formed using glass, sapphire, or other ceramic materials.
Additional embodiments described herein relate to electronic devices including flexible cover sheets. The electronic devices may further include a flexible display layer. An example electronic device comprises a display layer and a cover layer coupled to the display layer and defining a foldable region, wherein the display layer and the cover layer are configured to be moved between a folded configuration and an unfolded configuration by bending the cover layer along the foldable region. In embodiments, the foldable region of the cover layer comprises a ceramic material, such as a glass, a metal oxide ceramic, or other ceramic material. In further embodiments, the ceramic material defines at least a portion of an exterior surface of the electronic device.
In some embodiments, the cover layer comprises a continuous layer of a ceramic material. An exterior surface of the continuous layer of ceramic material can define an exterior surface of the electronic device. Such an arrangement can present an impact and/or scratch resistant surface to a user. An opposing interior surface of the continuous layer of ceramic material can face the display layer.
In embodiments, an electronic device comprises: a display; a substrate coupled to the display and having a foldable region including a relief feature; and a filler disposed in the relief feature and optically index matched to the substrate, wherein the substrate is configured to move between a folded configuration and an unfolded configuration by folding and unfolding the foldable region. An example cover layer comprises: a substrate having an array of relief features formed into a surface of the substrate; and a filler disposed in the array of relief features and having an optical index that is index matched to the substrate.
Apple's patent FIGS. 1A and 1B illustrated below respectively illustrate a device in open and closed configurations.
In Apple's patent FIG. 4A above we're able to see device #400 in a fully folded or closed configuration. In the fully folded or closed configuration, roughly two thirds of the display layer #420 is viewable along the first region #481 and second region #482 of the device.
Apple's granted patent 10,579,105 was originally filed in Q2 2019 and published today by the US Patent and Trademark Office.
Apple was first granted a patent for this invention in May 2019. What's different is found in Apple's patent claims wherein this current granted patent places a lot of emphasis on "the radius of the curvature" of the display cover and four stress levels.
Apple notes in patent claim #1: "the exterior region has a first stress level in the unfolded configuration and a second stress level in the intermediate configuration, a magnitude of the first stress level being greater than a magnitude of the second stress level; and the interior region has a third stress level in the unfolded configuration and a fourth stress level in the intermediate configuration, a magnitude of the third stress level being greater than a magnitude of the fourth stress level.