Overlook an iPhone fold, Apple needs a stretchable HomePod


An iPad displaying one illustration of a stretchable disolay

New analysis that implies the long run “iPhone Fold” might have a stretchable show on the skin, as a substitute of 1 that simply folds. This is how Apple thinks it may be performed.

Apple is lagging behind different smartphone companies by not but having an iPhone Fold, however it retains making an attempt — and reportedly has a couple of prototypes. What it additionally has, although, is a slew of different gadgets that would profit from a display that is extra versatile than common.

However in these circumstances and all earlier rumors, the important thing phrase has been “foldable” — and Apple might have one thing higher. A newly-revealed patent utility exhibits that Apple is at the least considering very deeply a few stretchable show as a substitute.

Known as simply “Stretchable Show,” the patent utility is credited to an uncommon and even extraordinary variety of inventors. As an alternative of the standard vary of between 1 and 10 inventors, this patent utility credit 55 individuals.

They’re mainly based mostly in both California or Taiwan, the place Apple has a analysis middle. They’re additionally remarkably concise, with the patent utility having 13 photographs and simply 22 pages.

Technical drawing showing a cross-section of a layered, mechanical structure with numbered labels and various components.

Element from the patent utility displaying that the flat sections between the risen elements could possibly be versatile

What these pages consider, although, are the specifics of getting a show with “a stretchable portion with hermetically sealed inflexible pixel islands.” The entire patent utility is mild on examples of how stretchable shows could possibly be used.

There are some options, beginning with how Apple needs the patent to cowl each sort of system it might probably. So the patent utility is for “a laptop computer pc… a cellular telephone…” or any of greater than a dozen completely different gadgets.

Amongst these, although, there’s reference to “a smaller system comparable to a wrist-watch system, a pendant system, a headphone or earpiece system, a tool embedded in eyeglasses or different gear worn on a consumer’s head, or different wearable or miniature system.” However there are additionally bigger shows, comparable to “mounted in a kiosk or vehicle.”

As ever, the aim of the patent is extra to cowl how one thing could also be performed, slightly than what might then occur with the know-how.

So this can be extrapolation, however there are use circumstances the place a stretchable show could be of extra profit than a folding one. As an example, an iPhone fold would have a foldable display on its inside, however a stretchable one on the skin.

However then there have lengthy been rumors of a HomePod with a display. The belief is often that the HomePod could be a squared-off design as a substitute of its present cylinder, however Apple has already appeared at a show that will successfully wrap across the system.

Equally, this stretchable show know-how may handle one other reported purpose of Apple. In 2023, it was revealed that Apple needs to make an Apple Watch display that wraps all the way in which across the wrist.

It is necessary to notice that at current that is solely an utility for a patent. Apple applies for hundreds of patents yearly, and never all are granted.

Plus, even when Apple is granted a patent, it isn’t a assure that we’ll ever see its proposals realized in a transport product.