Apple Wins Patent For Curved Touch Screen Technology. Next iPhone A CURVED One?

Move over Samsung and LG: Apple has been awarded a patent by the US Patent and Trademark Office that describes how they could manufacture a new breed of curved touch surfaces.

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While Samsung and LG have both already invented the curved displays, Apple has just been awarded a patent for a new, more efficient way to manufacture curved touch displays

It's never too early to think ahead. Apple is coming down off the high of its release of the new iPhone 5S and iPhone 5C. Now the company is apparently already working to innovate and come up with something bigger and better for the next model of its flagship smartphone.

A fan-made rendering of the CURVED screen iPhone design.

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Granted Tuesday by the US Patent and Trademark Office, a patent dubbed simply "Curved touch sensor" outlines a technical process to achieve higher-quality curved displays.

Current sensor displays are typically very thin, so thin that their components can sometimes be damaged during the fabrication process. Apple has a way around that.

The patent suggests placing a thin film over a flexible substrate while the substrate is flat

This new pattern is then joined to a flexible substrate. A high level of heat is applied, allowing the substrate to be manipulated into a curved state without warping or other defects.

The resulting sensor display can be thinner than the traditional flat-substrate design and offer a higher degree of sensitivity.

The technology would fit most naturally into a smartphone, but Apple also sees its use in touchpads, mice, and other devices.

(Credit: Apple/USPTO)

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Here's a technical description of the display manufacturing from Apple's patent:

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The patent's claims specifically cover use of the technology in displays, touch pads and touch mice, among other devices

Candidate devices for Apple's curved touch surface tech. | Source: USPTO

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It is unclear if Apple will use the method in a consumer product, though curved displays seem to be en vogue at the moment.

Rival smartphone maker Samsung has released a curved model called the Galaxy Round, while LG recently debuted the LG G Flex that boasts a concave flexible display.

Apple's curved touch surface manufacturing patent was first filed for in 2010 and credits Lili Huang, Seung Jae Hong and John Z. Zhong as its inventors.

A fan-made rendering of the possible iPhone 6 design.

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