Apple patents new manufacturing technique for a "curved touch sensor"

Apple patents new manufacturing technique for a "curved touch sensor"
In the last couple of months, talk about curved screened handsets has multiplied dramatically. That could be due to the launch of the Samsung Galaxy Round and the more ambitious LG G Flex. Amid speculation that the next iteration of the Apple iPhone will feature a curved screen, Apple has been handed a patent for a manufacturing process that helps produce more accurate, curved touch sensors.

U.S. Patent No. 8,603,574 has been awarded to Apple for the process that deposits a conductive thin film over a flexible substrate while it is in a flat position. Once it is ready, the substrate is attached to a forming substrate and heated. Bottom-line? A curved touch sensor with no deformities and containing a thin film toughened by the high temperature annealing.

The advantage to using the process in the patent is that it allows for all parts of a curved glass display to be curved. Currently, some devices might only give off the appearance of being curved by using a flat substrate with a dome-like cover on top. This might give off a curved appearance to the user, but it also might lessen the touch sensitivity of the display because of the distance between the screen and the electrodes embedded in the thin film. Apple's manufacturing process would allow the curved display to be responsive.

The patent was originally applied for back in 2010 when curved screen handsets were just a gleam in manufacturers' eyes. 

source: USPTO via AppleInsider



28. exxperian

Posts: 25; Member since: Dec 07, 2013

Apple has so much ego

20. wando77

Posts: 1172; Member since: Aug 23, 2012

Pretty sure lg and samsung will have been working on flexi screens longer than 3 years if one has already been released

27. JC557

Posts: 1927; Member since: Dec 07, 2011

You can also add Sharp and Sony to that mix as well. I think Sony was toying around with the idea long before Apple filed this patent.

19. c.hack

Posts: 614; Member since: Dec 09, 2009

Apple doing more R&D for Samsuck to copy next year.

21. wando77

Posts: 1172; Member since: Aug 23, 2012

Are you mental???? Apple just put an idea on paper and you think theyare amazing. Samsung nand Lg etc are the ones with the skills to bring this tech to life. Without samsung, lg etc apple would be nothing.

22. ihavenoname

Posts: 1693; Member since: Aug 18, 2013

Samsung and LG are innovation kings now, Apple makes solid products, but they are not as revolutionising as in 2007.

23. wilsong17 unregistered

are you apple fan that blind who is the one releasing flexible and curve screen is samsung and lg omg where is apple making finger scan oh god

25. willard12 unregistered

A drawing on a napkin and a trip to the patent office is now considered R&D?

26. MEeee

Posts: 449; Member since: Oct 19, 2011

Typical iDiots.

7. androiphone20

Posts: 1654; Member since: Jul 10, 2013

Despite the negative opinions (which I do enjoy), this technology could be just in time to be used on the smartwatch

9. PBXtech

Posts: 1032; Member since: Oct 21, 2013

That makes sense, patent doesn't have to be for phones or tablets.

10. Finalflash

Posts: 4063; Member since: Jul 23, 2013

It is for any touch screen, there is no such thing as a good "specific" patent and Apple knows this well at least. But doesn't matter if it is used on a smart watch, they first need to give smart watches a purpose or use before it having a curved screen starts to matter.

12. PBXtech

Posts: 1032; Member since: Oct 21, 2013

I don't know how curved phone/tablet/smartwatch screens are made. If SS and LG uses a completely different method, this patent isn't going anywhere except the Apple vaults. I'd be willing to bet though, SS and LG do use different methods. As for the purpose, all they need to do is put the Apple logo on it. I think the whole smart watch concept is in the infancy stage, but that won't stop Apple from selling a boat load of them. Maybe what the technology needs is for Apple, SS, and Sony (and others) to sell that boat load so a healthy competition forms and the platform takes off. Personally, I'm waiting for a week long battery before I jump onto that band wagon.

14. Sauce unregistered

Plus 1

3. Honestcritic

Posts: 15; Member since: Nov 14, 2013

Apple is annoying..

4. suneeboy

Posts: 201; Member since: Oct 02, 2012

The application was submitted 3 years ago. Before we ever even heard of a flexible display. Apple is annoying because a patent they applied for was approved?

5. PBXtech

Posts: 1032; Member since: Oct 21, 2013

This isn't about flexible screens, it's about curved screens. The Nexus S was released around the same time this was sent to the patent office. I guess what I'm not understanding is Apple doesn't make their screens, why do they submit for a patent for something they purchase instead of manufacture? Maybe they were hedging their bets that they might one day be producing their own components.(?)

6. darkkjedii

Posts: 31805; Member since: Feb 05, 2011

Well said bro, fanboys are annoying too.

30. rusticguy

Posts: 2828; Member since: Aug 11, 2012

Exactly... fanboys like you who pretend to be neutral.

8. Finalflash

Posts: 4063; Member since: Jul 23, 2013

Yea, it is classic patent troll behavior when a technology is announced and the troll immediately tries to get a patent in any way possible that barely touches the concept without any of their own work in producing it. In this case, screen manufacturers said "hey, we will be aiming to produce flexible displays like this concept here". Apple goes, "We need to patent something about that asap so we can start trolling, they'll probably use these screens with touch displays, so lets patent touch on curved screen". Thus this patent was born. Since everyone is doing this it is okay for them too though. It is just how the patent system works and when everyone is a troll, no one is a troll (other than the upstarts that get screwed but hey, we only bow to the trolls, no one cares about the little guy).

11. buccob

Posts: 2981; Member since: Jun 19, 2012

No, they are annoying because they almost never MAKE what they patent... It would be nice to see an actual prototype of their many patents that they use only for suing

13. Sauce unregistered

If they made a phone of everything they patented, holy sh*t....

17. buccob

Posts: 2981; Member since: Jun 19, 2012

And that is exactly the problem... they only patent to sue others and prevent innovation... Instead they should patent, make prototypes and monetize the product of their patents... not just sue.

16. donfem

Posts: 708; Member since: Mar 30, 2011

The thing I find annoying mostly is the Patent office allowing this nonsense.

15. donfem

Posts: 708; Member since: Mar 30, 2011

Another apologist? Very impressive.:)

24. _Bone_

Posts: 2155; Member since: Oct 29, 2012

Wrong, Samsung showed off it's flexible screen 3 years ago, which probably means they've been working on it at least 5 years before that, cause that's what it takes to come up with something that radical.

18. InspectorGadget80 unregistered

so is patent news

2. toiletcleaner

Posts: 224; Member since: Oct 10, 2012

The new iFlex made by Lg invented by Apple

1. android_hitman unregistered

Probably Sammy and LG are already sued.

29. Ashoaib

Posts: 3309; Member since: Nov 15, 2013

OMG.. again apple headache... who the hell US patent is? seems like they award everything to apple... apple is not a screen manufacturer, so it should not be given patent of anything which it is not manufacturing

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