Apple was granted a patent last week for a multi-layered flip phone by the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO). The Cupertino company is believed to utilise foldable display technology in future iPhone and iPad models. It has reportedly received other patents connected to foldable displays in the past. This latest patent is said to mention a unique cover layer for a foldable screen, which might be used on future iPhone, iPad, and Mac launches. This cover layer is also said to possess antireflection properties.
According to a PatentlyApple report, the USPTO granted the patent with patent number US-20230011092-A1 to Apple. The patent reportedly covers a layer structure for curved, flexible, and foldable displays. The flexible display is said to be protected by a cover layer. This layer is reportedly made up of a transparent support substrate and a hardcoat layer.
The hardcoat layer is said to possess high tensile strength and hardness, which supposedly allows it to withstand more strain before fracture in comparison to the transparent support layer. Apple reportedly mentions in the patent that fractures in displays are usually initiated by micro-cracks.
This hardcoat layer is reportedly designed to fill these micro-cracks before they can initiate a significant crack in the display. Apple's patent is said to also mention that the hardcoat layer also possesses antireflection properties. It is said to be further covered by a smudge-resistant coating.
Apple had previously obtained a patent for a foldable self-healing display, as per a past report. This technology is reportedly designed to help a foldable display recover from scratches as well as dents. The report also mentions that self-healing should take effect in the affected region without an external prompt.
It is believed that Apple will first bring a foldable iPad to the market before a foldable iPhone. However, the foldable iPad is expected to arrive in 2025.
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