Apple on Tuesday was granted a patent by the US Patent and Trademark Office related to curved touch surfaces, leading many to believe they might be experimenting with curved displays for the iPhone.
Specifically, the patent details the manufacturing technique used to produce accurate, curved touch surfaces that are free of typical deficiencies caused by substrate warping or deformation. The technology would naturally be used in displays, touch pads and touch mice according to Apple Insider.
Apple points out that current touch panel technology, like those containing thin-film conductors, are tough to work with because of the desired thickness of the substrate and thin film. When putting a thin film over a flexible substrate like plastic, heat must be applied at a lower temperature to prevent structural damage despite the fact that higher temperatures allow for greater thin film resistiveness and better optical properties.
In addition to a simple single curve, Apple also outlines a technique to create more than one curvature. By adding a second or third forming substrate, Apple could in theory create something like a wave or other curved surface.
As with any patent, just because it was granted doesn’t mean we are guaranteed to see it arrive in a consumer product. But given the fact that curved displays seem to be a rather popular and budding technology at the moment, I wouldn’t be shocked to see some sort of curved display show up on a future mobile device from Cupertino.