Apple patent for the use of heating elements in the foldable iPhone display

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Apple’s new patent details a mechanism by which a foldable iPhone or iPad can prevent the screen from becoming brittle in cold weather by using heating elements.

So far, several companies such as Samsung , Huawei and Motorola have launched clamshell phones; But usually the first generation of these phones face many problems and challenges. One of the challenges for folding handset manufacturers is the hinge mechanism becoming brittle and not smooth in cold seasons. This has led manufacturers to reconsider the production of the next generation of these products to solve the initial problems. Of course, the evidence suggests that this type of phone is still far from ideal.

In general, the effect of temperature on materials is one of the main challenges in the industry. Heat makes plastics and other materials more flexible, and cold reduces their  flexibility, which can be a disaster for a device with a flexible display such as a smartphone; Because it may lead to cracking and eventually breaking. This may not only affect the main material of the display; Because adhesives and other intermediate elements can also be affected by cold weather.

Apple’s patent in the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, entitled ” Flexible Device with Electronic Display,” describes a mechanism that can solve the problem by heating the display. The tech giant is arguing that sensors mounted on the board can determine what the temperature of the device is and whether it is safe for the display to bend in its current state. If the screen is not removable without possible damage  , the system can automatically warn the user of the danger as well as the creation of a physical barrier.

The patent documents state that the system can be locked until the temperature of the display is high enough to bend. The system can use an actuator to connect the lock in place as well as to remove it. Regarding screen temperature correction, Apple suggests that there are several ways to do this. The simplest thing is to install heating elements under its most prone weaknesses. Of course, doing so affects the design of the device; Because it can force physical design to make new parts bigger or even reduce their safety.

A better idea and Apple’s proposed system is to use heating elements in the display itself. As the display emits light, it can emit heat as a by-product. These sensors can detect areas of the screen that may require heat treatment and illuminate the pixels in that area and surrounding areas to maximize heat generation. There are also suggestions for screensavers and other graphics systems that can transfer heat over time to vulnerable areas. The main file of this invention was  registered on ١٣ December..

The idea of ​​a flexible or collapsible device has been around for some time and has repeatedly appeared in a number of patents. For example,  in the last year alone, more than 2,000 inventions and plans to use a hinge mechanism, a sliding OLED display to create a wider display, and similar concepts have been patented, and the interesting thing is that these files are not limited to display technology. ; On April 2, several inventions related to flexible media batteries were introduced into the design of a clamshell iPhone.

There have been several rumors about the development of the clamshell iPhone ; But it is believed that the release of this phone will not happen in the near future. It is believed that the development is still in its infancy and focused on display technologies, and apparently the tech giant has not introduced the completed prototype of the clamshell into the trial and error process. Like other companies’ clamshell smartphones, the clamshell iPhone allows Apple to offer a larger display in a smaller body.

According to a report from November 2020, Apple has sent the clamshell iPhone to Foxconn to test the collapsible bearing with more than 100,000 opening and closing tests, which seems to be over. According to reports, the production of hinge equipment has been jointly undertaken by several suppliers; But the final assembly is done by Foxconn. According to sources close to the supply chain, it is claimed that Apple will launch the first clamshell iPhone between 2022 and 2023.