While many smartphone makers work tirelessly to perfect the foldable phone, a new patent suggests Apple may be working on a rollable version.
The document describes a flexible display that is ‘wrapped around one or more rollers’, allowing the screen to be pulled out of a ‘housing’ and rolled back in when not in use.
It lets users pull out the screen, and allows them to choose how small or wide they want the display to be.
The new design would address the issue many foldable smartphones endure – the device’s hinge becomes worn after opening and closing, and it eventually breaks.
Scroll down for video
The patent, entitled ‘Electronic device with flexible display structures,’ was filed in December 2017 and published March 24, 2020, as first reported on by AppleInsider.
‘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,’ reads the patent.
‘A touch screen in a housing may be overlapped by a flexible display that has been scrolled outwardly from the housing.’
Apple’s new design is fitted with a wireless transmitter and receiver circuitry that display images on the screen in a pixel array format.
Magnets are also used in the housings on either side ‘to help prevent a rolled flexible display from wrinkling.’
Apple’s new design is fitted with a wireless transmitter and receiver circuitry that display images on the screen in a pixel array format. Magnets are also used in the housings on either side ‘to help prevent a rolled flexible display from wrinkling
Apple is not just limiting this design to its iPhones, but also notes in the document that iPads could also be made to roll in and out of housings.
The rollable model could be Apple’s way of bypassing the mess that many smartphone makers have encounter with their new foldable devices – Samsung being one of them.
The South Korean firm’s $2,000 Galaxy Gold was found to break after just a few days of use.
Journalists who were given a smartphone to review before the public launch said the screen began flickering and turning black before completely fizzing out – they also experienced issues with the hinge.
Dieter Bohn, executive editor of technology news site The Verge, said the device seemed to have a defective hinge, causing the screen to become ‘distorted’ with a slight swelling that can be felt when you run your finger over it.
Eventually, the screen began to show signs that it would break entirely, he said.
CNBC also reported that even with the protective layer still intact, the phone stopped working properly.
‘When opened, the left side of the flexible display, which makes up a large 7.3-inch screen, flickers consistently,’ the site explained.
The rollable model could be Apple’s way of bypassing the mess that many smartphone makers have encounter with their new foldable devices – Samsung being one of them. Pictured is the Samsung Galaxy Fold and users found the hinge can give out in a few days of use
Motorola is the lastest newcomer to release a foldable smartphone.
The Illinois company revamped its nostalgic early 2000s Razr, but transformed it into a modern-day device.
CNET conducted an experiment with its ‘FoldBot’ to see just how durable the hinges are and after thousands of rapid folds and just three hours, the Razr’s hinge was failing and not fully closing the foldable device.
However, Motorola hit back at the claims just three days after the results were made public saying, ‘ the robot ‘put undue stress on the hinge’ and did not allow the foldable phone to ‘open and close as intended’, the firm told Engadget in a statement.
Motorola conducted its own tests with a robot it claims folds the phone properly and revealed users should get ‘years of use.’
HOW DOES SAMSUNG’S FOLDING PHONE WORK?
At the Korean tech giant’s Unpacked event in San Francisco, it officially debuted the Galaxy Fold, a unique device that’s part smartphone, part tablet.
The Galaxy Fold, which features an unprecedented six cameras and two batteries, starts at a whopping $1,980.
In a mesmerizing demonstration, Samsung showed how the Galaxy Fold transforms from a compact smartphone that ‘fits in the palm of your hand’ into a full-sized tablet with an uninterrupted screen, thanks to a hinge that’s ‘hidden’ in the device.
DJ Koh, President and CEO of IT and Mobile Communications, holds up the new Samsung Galaxy Fold smartphone during the Korean tech giant’s Unpacked event
When folded open, the device features a 7.3-inch AMOLED Infinity Flex Display with QXGA+ resolution.
It then folds closed to become a single, smaller 4.6-inch AMOLED display.
Amazingly, the full screen is almost entirely edge-to-edge and features no disruptive hinge down the middle, allowing it to ‘open naturally’ and giving it a ‘seamless, elegant look.’
Samsung said it worked with Google to help Android app developers optimize their apps for the revolutionary folding display design.
The interior screen is big enough that users can run three apps at one time.