Nov 28, 2017: The US Patent & Trademark Office has published a patent application related to Apple’s future foldable iPhone. The application mentions that Apple has included micro-LED in its iPhone as one of the display materials for the model and liquid metal as the bendable part of the phone’s body. The patent illustrates a device that has a flexible part which allows it to be folded and a flexible display that bends along.
With Samsung and other brands taking interest in foldable smartphones, of late, more Apple patents are surfacing. One of the patent is regarding a bendable smartphone that uses advanced carbon nanotube structures, which is considered as one of the materials used as an anti-corrosion additive to prevent corrosion of any sensitive structures in the foldable display.
It is reported that Apple and LG Display are partnering to develop a foldable iPhone. LG Display has created a task force to develop a bendable OLED screen for the foldable phone model. LG Innotek has also formed a team devoted to the development of the rigid flexible PCB, or RFPCB. It is also reported that Apple has started collaboration with TSMC to develop silicon-based micro-LED displays for mass transfer.
The flexible display consists of several layers, like a flexible display layer, a cover layer, a support layer, and a polarizer layer. A touch sensor will be insinuated between the flexible display and the cover layer, and the polarizer layer will be placed either on or under the touch sensor.
The touch sensor may include layers of optically clear adhesive that is flexible and facilitates bending of the display. The optically clear adhesive may include additives such as water vapor penetration reducing additive, anti-corrosion additive, ultraviolet-light blocking additive, and index-of-refraction adjustment additive. The support layer may be formed from shape memory alloy or amorphous metal and may have openings to facilitate bending of the display along the bend axis.
Another Apple patent titled “Electronic Devices with Displays” covers designs of a folding device, which explains that edge portions are joined along a flexible middle portion that may overlap a bend axis. It also mentions the display layer may be a OLED or micro-LED layer.
Source: Patently Apple