Apple patent hints at future devices with curved displays

Product roadmap could have curves ahead

Apple curved touch sensor patent

Flat touchscreen iOS devices and Mac displays could be a thing of the past now that Apple has been awarded a patent for a touch sensor capable of being manufactured on a curve.

AppleInsider reported that a new patent awarded to Apple from the US Patent and Trademark Office paves the way for the iPhone 5S maker to start manufacturing devices with curved displays.

U.S. Patent No. 8,603,574, first filed in 2010, specifically outlines a "curved touch sensor" capable of producing touchscreen surfaces capable of being wrapped across the front of a device without manufacturing defects such as substrate warping or deformation.

The curved touch sensor patent specifically covers displays, touch pads and touch mice.

Curvy roadmap ahead?

In its original patent filing, Apple noted that current methods for creating touch panels using thin-film conductors aren't ideal for curved displays, since they require lower temperatures to avoid being damaged.

Display manufacturers prefer to employ higher temperatures for thickness and optical reasons, but Apple's process dodges the issue with some tricks of tech.

The complicated process doesn't necessarily mean Apple will adopt this method for future iOS or Mac products, so current smartphones with curved displays such as the LG G Flex and Samsung Galaxy Round appear to be safe for now.