Today the US Patent & Trademark Office published a continuation patent of interest from Apple that relates to a future "scrollable" iDevice.
Today's patents are not new invention applications but rather what are known as "continuation patents" wherein Apple is updating and/or adding specific technology, features and/or methods that they want to legally extend into their current granted patent. Any changes and/or additions to this invention is restricted to Apple's patent claims.
A Scrollable iDevice
Apple was granted a patent for this invention back in March and you could review our report here for details. Apple has been working on this project since 2016 with two past inventions on this concept here: (01 and 02).
As a refresher Apple's patent FIG. 2 below is a perspective view of a scrollable device having a flexible display extended between two housing structures;
Apple's patent FIG. 6 above is a top view of device #10 in an illustrative configuration in which the housing for the device has a main portion (housing structure 12-1) and has a smaller portion (housing structure 12-2) that is used as a support bar to help pull flexible display #14 off of a roller within the interior of structures #12-1. Bistable support strips such as tape #32 may be used to help support the flexible display when the flexible display is in its deployed state
Apple's engineering team have updated this invention to include the use of a metal support structures and more as noted in the patent claims below as follows:
Patent Claim #11. An electronic device, comprising: a housing having a surface with an opening; a roller in the housing; a flexible display coupled to the roller and configured be rolled around the roller in a rolled state and to be unrolled out of the opening in the housing in an unrolled state, wherein the flexible display has first and second edges; and support structures that run along the first and second edges and that are configured to maintain the flexible display at an angle relative to the housing when the flexible display is in the unrolled state.
Claim #14. The electronic device defined in claim 11 wherein the support structures are metal support structures.
Claim #15. The electronic device defined in claim 14 wherein the metal support structures are configured to maintain the flexible display at a vertical angle relative to the housing.
Claim #16. The electronic device defined in claim 15 wherein the metal support structures are bistable and are configured to wrap around the roller when the flexible display is in the rolled state.
Claim #17. An electronic device, comprising: a housing; a roller in the housing; a flexible display coupled to the roller and configured to be rolled around the roller to move from an unrolled state to a rolled state; and an electronic component within the roller.
Claim #18: The electronic device defined in claim 17 wherein the electronic component is selected from the group of components consisting of: an integrated circuit and a battery.
Claim #19. The electronic device defined in claim 18 wherein the flexible display has edges that extend perpendicular to the housing, the electronic device further comprising: metal support structures that run along the edges of the flexible display.
Apple's continuation patent 20200196460 that was published today by the U.S. Patent Office was filed back in Q1 2020. Considering that this is a continuation patent, the timing of such a product to market is unknown at this time.