Apple files for another patent for an iPhone with a wrapped, flexible display

Apple has filed for yet another patent (number 20200348728) that hints at an iPhone with a wrapped display. This is just one of dozens of such patent filings or granted patents for wrapped, curved, and/or flexible displays.

In the patent filing, Apple says electronic devices such as computers, media players, and cellular telephones typically contain — as you could guess — displays. However the tech giant says that conventional display configurations “may be satisfactory in certain situations, but can be unnecessarily limiting.” Apple says it would be desirable provide electronic devices with improved displays. Of course, the patent filing could involve iPads and even Macs, but these seem less likely candidates for a wrapped display.

In the past, Apple has said that, for example, a convex display rather than a flat one could increase the internal volume of an iPhone, while preserving a sleek look that’s aesthetically pleasing. Integrated into the curved, and flexible, display would be buttons, microphones, speakers, piezoelectric actuators or (for receiving electrical input from a user or tactile feedback to users), other actuators such as vibrators, pressure sensors, and other components.

The nature of the flexible, curved display would allow a user to interact with the user interface components (input-output components) by moving the display into contact with the user interface components or by otherwise allowing the display to locally flex (e.g., to allow sound to pass through the flexible display or to allow a barometric pressure measurements of the exterior environment to be made by an internal pressure sensor). 

Also, a portion of the flexible display could form a membrane portion of an electrical component. Components that may be provided with a membrane that is formed from a portion of an iPhone display that would include microphones, laser microphones, pressure sensors, speakers, etc. 

Here’s the summary of the invention: “An electronic device may have a hollow display cover structure. The hollow display cover structure may be formed from a structure having an inner surface. The structure may be an elongated member having a longitudinal axis. A material such as sapphire, other crystalline materials, or other transparent materials may be used in forming the hollow display cover structure. 

“A flexible display layer such as an organic light-emitting diode display layer or other flexible display structure may be wrapped around the longitudinal axis to cover the interior surface of the hollow display cover structure. The electronic device may have a touch sensor, accelerometer, gyroscope, and other sensors for gathering input such as user input. The electronic device may use one or more sensors to gather information on rotational motion of the device and can display content on the flexible display layer accordingly.”