Apple acquires patent for bending glass

Looks like it's time for a different kind of arms race. According to CNET, Apple has been rewarded a patent for a technique that uses heat while bending glass over a mold to encourage a particular shape. This could lead to the Cupertino-based company making devices with curved displays.

The patent reads, "Apparatus, systems and methods for alignment of a glass member for high temperature processing are disclosed. The high temperature processing can, for example, pertain to a slumping process to mold glass into a predetermined shape (e.g., a three-dimensional shape). In one embodiment, a glass slumping system can have a mold and an alignment system that support a glass member to be slumped relative to the mold. The alignment system may have a plurality of alignment members being configured to move away from the glass member as the temperature increases during the slumping process to allow the glass member to bend around the mold without interference."

The method for making curved displays

The technique for bending glass.


This could increase the competition—if it could be more than it already is—between Apple and rival Samsung, as the latter already has devices in the market that use curved screens, like the Nexus S and the Galaxy Nexus. It could also mean Apple is stepping towards flexible displays, like the ones to be showcased by Samsung at CES in February 2013.

One of the screens that Samsung is set to showcase during the event is a 5.5-inch flexible screen intended for use on smartphones. It will have a resolution of 1280x720 pixels, giving it a pixel density of 267 ppi. The other screen to be showcased will be a 55-inch TV-sized display.

Samsung Display—a spin-off of Samsung Electronics—has stated that the displays will offer more freedom while designing the devices. The company also pointed out that though the screens can be bent, they aren't made for being rolled up.

According to an earlier report, Samsung will not be showing off the company's next flagship phone, the Galaxy S IV, at CES, but instead will be showcasing it at a later event. It was widely speculated that Samsung would be launching its next flagship smartphone at CES 2013 after the company released a teaser trailer that tells the world to get ready for "Something New". However, it appears that at CES 2013, Samsung will instead focus on televisions and a range of other electronic products. None of these announcements pertain to any significant smartphone news.

Before the teaser trailer came to light, it was rumoured that the Galaxy S IV would be launched after CES 2013 and not at the annual electronics expo, which now turns out to be correct.

Rumours about the Galaxy S IV have been falling like snow did in the Ice Age. If the last one about the Samsung Galaxy S IV is to be believed, it may feature an unbreakable screen. In fact, reports suggest that if this is true, it could turn out to be a major selling point for the smartphone—considering the converging form factor.

The South Korean giant has been a popular name in the development of displays. Mark Newman, an analyst with Stanford Bernstein, recently stated that Samsung would eventually go for unbreakable and flexible displays. "Either the Galaxy S IV or S V will have unbreakable and even possibly flexible and foldable displays by 2014. That's going to be a game-changer."

Published Date: Dec 28, 2012 12:39 pm | Updated Date: Dec 28, 2012 12:39 pm