Bendable smart phones are making the round these days, Samsung recently set a January 2016 date for the release its bendable phones after years of unsubstantiated rumors. Quite a number of other tech companies are rumored
to be either working on bendable phones or seriously considering the idea of developing one. To add more credibility to the gossips that are being peddled on the subject, a spokesman for Samsung recently hinted Business Korea that bendable smartphones will be ready for the consumer market in year 2016. “….the industry believe that the commercialization of foldable smartphones will be possible in 2016” , the Samsung spokesman said. In a rather unsurprising move, Cupertino based iphone maker – Apple inc, has been granted a patent by the United States patent office for a flexible phone. The patent which was filed on September 30, 2011 is titled ‘Flexible electronic devices’, with United States Patent Number – 8929085. It describes the flexible electronic device to include flexible display, a flexible housing and flexible internal components. As typical of Apple inc. and of course most patents generally , Apple did not indicate which electronic device the patented design will be used with, but the patent sketches suggest it will “almost certainly” be the iphone. However don’t get your party gears just yet as Apple are kings of patenting zillions of designs that never make it to the consumer market. In recent years Apple has patented – Fuel Cell Technology that may enable its battery last for weeks, iTime for its smartwatches, Rings that control other electronic devices etc, but non of them has been actually put into production. However considering the frequent cases of smartphone damage due to ‘falling-off’ accidents and the corresponding need to figure out a way to solve such issues, Apple might definitely want to put this one to a test. Ok, you might probably be wondering how Apple’s patent will prevent your pricey smartphone from being damaged in an event of an accidental fall, well here is how it will;
Image credit: Apple Inc/USPTO
According to the patent document, Apple notes that Rigid electronic devices are more susceptible to damage in an event of hitting on a hard surface, however electronic devices with flexible components as well as casing will be significantly more resistant to damages by bending or deforming to absorb the impact when it hits a hard surface. “Flexible electronic devices may be more resistant to damage during impact events such as drops because the flexible device may bend or deform while absorbing the impact. Deformation of this type may increase the duration of an impact thereby reducing the impulse received by other components of the flexible device” the patent explains.
PROSPECT OF A BENDABLE IPHONE
Image credit: Apple Inc / USPTO
If Apple’s patent eventually gets a place in the iphone, then undoubtedly new releases of the iphone are definitely going to be more exciting. The iphone could feature a completely new user interface beyond the touch display and standard features such as rocker switches and sliders. Being bendable, iphone users could just bend their devices to play music, make a call to a ppersonalize contact or just do crazy things by just twisting the phone according to a customized “bend gesture”. Users will probably be able to customize gestures to switch on or off, answer a call, start an app, change volume, or start playing a song or movie. It will nice to have an iphone users could just fold up and stash in their pockets despite the huge size (the iphone 6s plus comes to mind). However, considering that the patent claims that the interior and exterior components of the electronic device are going to be mostly flexible, any release of Apple’s iphone featuring the design
will definitely not come cheap. “The flexible internal components may include a flexible display, flexible batteries, flexible circuit boards or other flexible electrical or support components. Flexible exterior components may include a flexible display cover layer, a flexible housing or other flexible external components” the patent further explains.