Apple has been granted a patent allowing the creation of a flexible iPhone which could be twisted or bent, months after iPhone 6 owners complained of accidental bending
Apple has been granted a patent to manufacture a flexible device which could withstand bending and twisting, months after customers complained their iPhone 6 handsets were bending by accident.
The United States Patent and Trademark Office granted the patent to create “a flexible electronic device” which may include “a flexible display, a flexible housing and one or more flexible internal components” on Tuesday.
Originally filed in 2011, the patent may not necessarily shed light on future Apple products, as many technology companies file patents in order to prevent rivals licensing certain features or inventions.
A flexible device could be more resistant than its rigid counterparts as it may bend or deform while absorbing the impact from a fall, and the motion of twisting it could be used as a command trigger for an action such as turning the device on or off, the patent explained.
The device’s outer chassis could be constructed from a lightweight plastic, thin glass or of composite materials designed to withstand bending. Internal components such as circuit boards, sensors and motors could be covered in a form of flexible housing to prevent damage.
The Californian company was granted a similar patent for flexible displays in October last year, and another in February 2013.
Shortly after the release of the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus in September last year, a number of customers complained their 5.5-inch 6 Plus handsets had appeared to bend after being carried in pockets. Apple said that only nine customers had complained, and that the handset should not bend when used normally.
The news comes as rival company LG unveiled the LG G Flex2, the company’s second curved smartphone at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas. The curved screen mirrors the shape of a human face, and the cover is made from a form of ‘self-healing’ plastic which the company claims repairs minor scratches to itself within 10 seconds.
Flexible OLED and ‘electronic paper’ displays have been in development for years, while LG, Samsung and Sony are all competing for a stake in the curved TV market.
Illustration from Apple’s ‘flexible device’ patent