The US Patent and Trademark Office recently granted Apple a patent dubbed "flexible electronic devices." Essentially, it describes a handset that is made up of flexible components both in its internal and external parts.
If Apple pulls this off, users may have in their hands a mobile device that can be bent, folded, squeezed, or stretched. Furthermore, the flexibility of the device may be directly tied to functionality, i.e. users will be able to open their devices, turn them off, or even launch apps by manipulating the flexible form of their handsets.
For Apple's device to be fully flexible, the exterior will have to include fully bendable components, including a flexible display cover and a flexible body housing everything. As for the interior, it will likely feature a flexible OLED display and similarly flexible circuit boards and electrical parts.
Easier said than done for sure, but if it is any comfort, Apple is not alone in trying to build a flexible phone. Years ago, Samsung introduced the Galaxy Round, a smartphone with a bowed screen and back. Right around the same time, LG also unveiled its G Flex smartphone, which features a curved body (banana shape). As recently as this year's Consumer Electronics Show (CES 2015), LG even followed it up with a successor, the G Flex 2.
But none of these existing devices are truly flexible. Sure, they have a curved or bent shape that allows for limited flexibility. But none of them can be flexed in easy and unlimited ways.
But why get a flexible phone at all? First of all, a flexible smartphone would be much harder to break. And you never have to worry about warping or any Bendgate issue because it is designed to be deformed anyway.
Secondly, it would really be cool. No doubt about it, a smartphone that can shape-shift would really sell like pancakes. And just think about the coolness factor of owning a mobile device you can operate by just twisting or bending it.
Of course, Apple is still in the patent phase. Who knows how long it will take for the tech company to produce a working prototype, if it can even get there at all. But there is hope. After all, this is Apple we are talking about. If anyone can do it, it would probably be Apple.
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