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Future iPhones could have a thinner and stronger display

By Nadeem Sarwar May 26, 2021, 4:53 pm
pocketnow iPhone 12

With the iPhone 12 series, Apple made a leap when it comes to the strength and durability of protective solutions for smartphone screens. That leap came in the form of Ceramic Shield, a solution that is claimed to offer 4x drop protection compared to previous iPhone models and is even touted to be tougher than Corning Gorilla Glass Victus. Apple is now experimenting with more ideas to make the iPhone’s display stronger while also reducing its thickness.

As per a patent filed by Apple (via AppleInsider), Apple proposes using a glass molding between the screen and the iPhone’s frame to add structural strength without adding to the thickness. This secondary (peripheral element) polymer structure can be securely attached to the screen glass and the surrounding frame using adhesive or it can be molded to create a gapless design.

Apple patent
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Titled ‘Insert molding around glass members for portable electronic devices’ in the USPTO database, the patent talks about using a secondary piece of glass (or another polymer with properties and appearance similar to glass) that sits in the area between the screen and the adjacent frame. The two glass elements can be bonded using a thermally activated adhesive.

“The peripheral structure can be secured adjacent to the glass cover with an adhesive. The peripheral structure can be molded adjacent the glass cover so that a gapless interface is formed between the peripheral structure and the periphery of the glass cover. In one embodiment, the peripheral structure can include at least an inner peripheral structure and an outer peripheral structure. The enclosure for the electronic device can be thin yet be sufficiently strong to be suitable for use in electronic devices, such as portable electronic devices.”

iPhones patent Apple
(Tap to see full-sized image)

In one of the implementations described in the patent application, the secondary support structure can have additional elements molded together in place to provide a better fit. The patent notes that the usage of a secondary glass element will offer better protection against bumps. There are multiple design ideas on how the secondary glass element will be shaped and fixed in place to provide additional strength to the main screen from the sides.

However, this is a patent application we’re talking about, which means the idea might never make it past the concept stage and appear on a commercially available product. Apple is heavily rumored to make a switch to 120Hz panels for the iPhone 13 Pro models and is achieving this by using LTPO OLED tech provided by Samsung. A smaller notch is also in the pipeline, but it is unclear if any other design changes to enhance the display strength will also be implemented this year.

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