Ever since Tim Cook took the CEO position, Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) has been in headlines for the sheer absence of innovation in the recent devices. Apple, which is considered as one of the most innovative companies in the world, is failing to meet the high-end expectations of its users. Despite being one of the top spenders on R&D, innovation still seems to be on the sideline.
However, recently Apple filed a patent for a foldable iPhone with a flexible design. The design will incorporate a flexible metal-backed OLED display which can be folded in half. Apple has been working on this design for a long time now.
The patent has been granted by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, Patent No. 9,504,170 for Flexible display devices, describes as an iPhone with a foldable full-screen display. To achieve this folding design, the most important component is a flexible OLED display. Another important component is a metal structure to support it which is allegedly nitinol (nickel and titanium alloy) that has elastic and unique shape memory capabilities. The screen can be split into upper and lower sections, each containing the processors, sensors and other smartphone circuitry like display controls, camera, CPU and GPU, microphones etc.
There’s also an alternative design in which the device is split into three parts which will give access to the screen when folded. The split pieces are attached using a single or multi-shaft hinge that supports the rotational motion. The connection between the pieces is achieved by using flexible printed circuit boards. Also, to protect the sensitive OLED display when folded, Apple engineers suggest tensioning members and rollers for dispensing and retracting the display when the hinge rotates.
It’s High Time for Apple to Adopt OLED Display for iPhone
In this dynamic smartphone market, it is only innovation that has the power to attract consumers, especially in the premium segment. The consumers always demand value for the price they pay. Most of the premium smartphones like Samsung Galaxy S series, Google Pixel, HP Elite X3, etc., have been using OLED display for a long time. Apple devices are using LCD display till now. Even the latest iPhone 7 and 7 Plus incorporates an LCD display, but they are said to be the best LCD display on a phone ever.
However, OLED has an edge over LCD with faster response time, better viewing angles, image contrast accuracy and screen uniformity. It is high time for Apple to adopt OLED display to provide a better experience. Coming up with a flexible OLED display will be a much-appreciated move from the company.
Samsung is Running Parallel in the Race
However, it is not just Apple who is working on this innovative design. The smartphone market leader Samsung also recently filed a patent for a foldable phone with a flexible OLED display. After the Note 7 debacle, Samsung will now leave no stones unturned to make its upcoming smartphones an unmatched experience. Apple and Samsung are both gearing up to give each other a tough challenge!
Apple has spent an estimated $8.1 billion on R&D and climbs to the list of top 20 R&D spenders (as of July 1, 2016). But these achievements are not sufficient to sell products. It should reflect on what the company is producing and providing to the end-users. Apple recently launched the new Macbook pro which incorporates a touch bar and touch ID, which are some really innovative features and are highly appreciated in the market. Apple needs to continue to roll out such innovations in its products to maintain its position in the market. 2017 marks the tenth anniversary of the iPhone and we are hoping to see a totally different and futuristic iPhone next year.