Today the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office officially granted Apple a patent for a possible future iDevice (iPhone, iPad) that will provide users with a display (and frame) that could slide or scroll to provide a wider view of content. Chinese smartphone vendor Oppo may be the first to bring this to market in Q4. A video below illustrates this kind of smartphone that's an alternative to folding phones.
Apple's granted patent is titled "Electronic Devices Having Sliding Expandable Displays." Apple notes right out of the gate that "If care is not taken, a display may not offer sufficient screen real estate to display information of interest to a user. At the same time, it can be difficult to enlarge the size of electronic devices too much to accommodate larger displays, because this can make devices too bulky."
A future iPhone frame will be able to provide a larger viewing area for live 5G TV, sports, games and Apple TV+ like content when appropriate.
Apple's invention covers an electronic device that may have a display mounted in a housing. The housing may have portions that slide relative to each other. When it is desired to place the device in a compact unexpanded state, the housing portions may be slid towards each other. When it is desired to expand the viewable size of the display, the housing portions may be slid away from each other.
Apple's patent FIG. 1 is perspective view of an iPhone that is capable of expanding its display; FIGS. 15 and 16 are perspective views of the illustrative electronic device in unexpanded and expanded configurations; and FIG. 17 is a cross-sectional side view of an illustrative electronic device with a sliding display.
Our other blog Patently Mobile covered a 2018 Samsung patent filing on a similar idea that provided a superior patent figure visual as presented below. Here you could see how a smartphone could be expanded to a mini tablet-like device with far more display to allow users to enjoy certain types of content. At present, Samsung is going full-tilt on foldable devices and will be introducing new foldables next month.
For more details, review Apple's granted patent 11,071,218. This is Apple's third scrollable, slidable display patent. Apple was granted their first scrollable device patent in March 2020. Apple's second scrollable device patent was issued in October 2020.