Skip to main content

New curved screen iPhone could help Apple hunt down Samsung and LG

Earlier this year, reports of a curved iPhone made the rounds, but while Samsung and LG have both unveiled curved smartphones, the Cupertino firm has yet to embrace the form factor.

That might change in the near future, since Apple was recently awarded a patent that covers "a method of forming a curved touch surface."

The patent focuses on the process of creating a curved display, which can be difficult, in part, because touch sensor panels are very thin and easily damaged.

Apple's process would deposit and pattern a conductive thin film "on a flexible substrate to form a touch sensor pattern, while the flexible substrate is in a flat state." Add a little heat to that conductive thin film, and "the flexible substrate to conform to the predetermined curvature of the at least one curved forming substrate," according to Apple.

The patent was first filed on 5 November 2010 by Apple's John Zhong, a senior director, Lili Huang, a senior manager, and Seung Jae Hong, who works in advanced technology sourcing. It was published by the US Patent and Trademark Office (PTO) on 12 May 2012 and awarded this week.

Many companies, of course, file patents for technologies that they don't actually incorporate into their products, so an iDevice with a curved display is not exactly a done deal. But other firms have embraced the form factor of late, most notably with the Samsung Galaxy Round and LG G Flex.

In October, Raymond Soneira, president of DisplayMate Technolgies, had some time with the Galaxy Round, and concluded that these curved displays can help with screen reflectivity and battery life, among other things.