Apple begins exploring flexible glass, job posting hints

Apple begins exploring flexible glass, job posting hints

Summary: It looks like Apple is only just starting to look into flexible displays, despite recent patents.

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TOPICS: Hardware, Apple
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While recent patents suggest that flexible glass could be on its way to Apple devices, a job posting that the company removed from its website hints that its exploration into bendable displays has only just begun.

Apple was, until 9to5Mac reported on it, advertising for a new vacancy on its website for a senior optical engineer to look into flexible glass.

"Apple Inc. is looking for a Display Specialist to lead the investigation on emerging display technologies such as high optical efficiency LCD, AMOLED and flexible display to improve overall display optical performance," the job posting read, according to 9to5 Mac, before it was removed.

The optical engineer would be tasked with analysing trade-offs between "design, process, optical performance, and implementation feasibility", it added.

Last month, it was revealed Apple had filed a patent for flexible display to be wrapped around a smartphone. The patent for the wraparound screen on a smartphone looked at the potential inclusion of two AMOLED screens and for the curved glass to offer a 3D-like experience in addition to more screen real-estate by being on both sides of the device.

It was later followed by Apple's patent for a slap-wrap watch, which also used flexible glass.

True to form, Apple has not commented on its plans for future products, but the patents indicated it had at least considered flexible displays.

However, the newly-removed job posting on other the hand suggests the company has not even begun investigating how flexible displays could in practice be used in its products — perhaps not surprising given the changes required to manufacturing processes to bring such products to market

Topics: Hardware, Apple

Liam Tung

About Liam Tung

Liam Tung is an Australian business technology journalist living a few too many Swedish miles north of Stockholm for his liking. He gained a bachelors degree in economics and arts (cultural studies) at Sydney's Macquarie University, but hacked (without Norse or malicious code for that matter) his way into a career as an enterprise tech, security and telecommunications journalist with ZDNet Australia. These days Liam is a full time freelance technology journalist who writes for several publications.

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7 comments
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  • Companies patent things all the time that they

    never actually bring into production.
    baggins_z
  • Apple looking to patent someone elses technology? Again!

    All the content in this article concerns prototype devices already in the working stage for the true R&D companies like Japan Display, Samsung and LG.
    Apples only R&D regards pilfering other companies developments.
    sickntired44
    • *sigh*

      Really? Is there a law that says Apple(or any other large tech company) is not allowed to do research in this area because you have heard of only 3 of the players in this tech area? So what gives Samsung any particular rights to this tech when they invented nothing...they bought Liquavista to acquire 'their' patents?
      Also, this article mentions an Apple patent that mentions specific implementation of this tech...not the tech itself, which could be just as easily sourced and licensed from one of many companies in this area.
      Strawman arguments are so...yesterday.
      frogspaw
    • Do you ever ask yourself the question

      Why didn't Japan Display, Samsung and LG bother to patent their ideas before taking them public? Those must be some truly altruistic companies. "Hey world here is great idea we came up with but we wont patent it, we are going to let you guys patent it and make all the money. "
      YaBaby
  • Flexible glass displays

    The glass they currently use is pretty 'bendable', but it still has the brittleness of glass. It is impact resistant when struck on the face, but hit the edges, or corners, and it shatters. Something didn't have this fragility would be a real sales point for iPhone users. Well worth exploration.
    rphunter1242
  • Flex glass

    Everyone seems to only look as this for some 'new' wearable product. How about looking at what we have to work with now. Will this work as a screen for regular tablets and phones that doesn't break when you sneeze at it. My android tablet is only held together by the screen protector and I've seen Ipads with the same problem. It's the biggest drawback to most tablets and phones.
    garyfizer@...
  • Patenting an idea...

    From what I gather, Apple is attempting to patent an idea for the creation of a unique device that happens to require a collective of components that someone else invented. It's basically how EVERYTHING works.

    Whomever invented the automobile still required things they didn't invent, such as the wheel and combustion engine.

    Let the legal system deal with who gets paid for the intellectual stuff. I just want a product that someone can get right... tech that doesn't suck. Don't really care which company does it if it offers something that truly makes life better.

    Speaking of patents... I wonder how rich the person's estate who invented the wheel would be, based on a fair use patent right?
    ct2193@...