Apple Plans iPhone Control Buttons Underneath Flexible Display

Apple Plans iPhone Control Buttons Underneath Flexible Display

Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) in a new patent talks about a new flexible device screen that changes shape to show the buttons hidden under its surface, according to a report from Apple Insider. The buttons for sound, pressure input and haptic feedback are fixed underneath the screen.

More experiments with flexible screen

In the U.S. patent number 8,816,977 for Electronic device with flexible display, the iPhone maker said that there are one or more flexible displays layers over actuators, buttons, switches, sliders, speakers, microphone and more.

“In some embodiment, the system combines a flexible display layer, such as a compatible OLED substrate, with a similarly flexible capacitive touch screen layer, which is then covered by a flexible or rigid cover,” says Apple Insider.

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An example reveals that the buttons and other controls structure will get a signal from the user’s finger or other objects, when the user taps the screen thereafter screen changes the shape and allowing the force. This system can even expand the device’s active screen area by removing external controls such as an iPhone’s home button with internal counterparts. Screen described in the patent is flexible, which means that the sensors that are under the screen can be an interactive surface for user to input commands. Before reshaping, the screen activates the internal sensors once the user taps the screen with force.

Also, users can press the internal actuators against the flexible layers to create ridges, points or other shapes on the display surface with every point made active or inactive according to the user input.

Apple unlikely to showcase this technology sooner

Sound and localized vibration, better known as haptics could also be placed in different significant positions for dynamic feedback to user input. Within the patent, Apple explains that in some cases the flexible display will act as an input module fitted into a microphone or pressure sensing component.

As of now, it is unclear if the company will bring the technology in its upcoming device and the next-generation iPhone, which are due to release next month. The Cupertino Calif-based company has been making new advancements in its display IP portfolio, but it is possible that these technologies are driven into the devices for more interactive and perceptible user experience. Apple filed its first flexible display patent in June 2011 and inventors named in are Fletcher R. Rothkopf, Scott A. Myers and Stephen Lynch.

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