The United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) granted Apple’s patent application for a screen that can heal minor damage itself. As suggested by the 9to5Mac website, this technology could be implemented in future generations of iPhones with flexible displays.
The method described in the Apple document involves bending panels where crumbs and other small particles can enter and scratch the finish. Such a fate, we recall, befell the 1st generation Samsung Galaxy Fold, the release of which was delayed for almost six months due to the fragility of the folding mechanism.
This is exactly the problem Apple engineers are trying to solve. As the top layer of the screen, they suggest using a “self-healing material” that could remove “dents, scratches or other defects.”
Ideally, the patent says, the coating will tighten without user intervention – for example, while charging. An alternative option is also admitted, in which “self-healing can be initiated or accelerated by external action of heat, light or electric current.”
Apple separately registered the rights to the display for the foldable smartphone back in 2017, and the foldable device itself, like the Galaxy Fold, patented the device in May 2019. However, unlike Samsung, which used soft plastic as a protective layer of the screen in the Galaxy Fold, Apple suggested using glass, tempered glass or sapphire.