Curved Touch Displays and Touch Surfaces Patent Comes Calling at Apple Door

December 12, 2013, By Sanjeev Ramachandran

It wasn’t long ago that we had told you that Apple is prepping a curved screen device at its labs. Ever since May 2011, we have been hearing news of the Cupertino company mulling over a ‘curved cover glass’ form factor for their next iPhone model.

The latest piece of info speaks of something that cements the grapevine buzz flying around for long.

On Tuesday, Apple was in fact awarded a patent that elaborates on the method of making curved touch surfaces, by the US Patent and Trademark Office .

Apple curved

This of course brings credibility to the information that hinted at such an endeavour. So, what you would get to play with soon would be Apple iPhones that sport curved displays.

Going by what folks at Apple Insider found, the U.S. Patent No. 8,603,574 for a curved touch sensor brings to the fore the manner in which “accurate, curved touch surfaces without deficiencies caused by substrate warping or deformation” are made.

According to the detailing, what it describes is use of the technology in displays, touch pads and touch mice and such devices.

From what Apple has to say, the current touch panel technologies pose hassles, owing to the thinness of the substrate and thin film. Apple Insider has quoted Apple as to what we hear, the company has said that “when depositing thin films over flexible substrates like plastic, the annealing, or heating, temperature must be kept relatively low to avoid structural damage. Manufacturers, however, may prefer to employ high annealing temperatures for added thin film resistiveness and enhanced optical properties”.

Apple curved 2

The annealing process thus would mean chances of deformation, and  the patent brings to the fore a manufacturing process  where in a conductive thin film deposited over a flexible substrate while in a flat state. And then, when the electrodes are set in place, the substrate package is joined to a curved “forming substrate” and then heated.

The result would be a non-deformed curved touch sensor stackup with a thin film that benefits from the high-temperature anneal, says the report.

We aren’t sure as to whether Apple would be bring this curved sensors to its next gen products. Though there have been much talk on such devices arriving from Cupertino, we guess we will haveto wait till the company tells us more about that.

Apple curved 3

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