What just happened? Samsung is going all in on flexible smartphones, and if successful, one has to think that other handset manufacturers will follow their lead. Apple appears to be doing just that as evident by a recently granted patent from the US Patent and Trademark Office.
The patent in question describes an “electronic device display with monitoring circuitry utilizing a crack detection resistor.” Digging a bit deeper, we see that Apple further specifies a flexible display with a sensor running along the perimeter of the screen.
In short, the setup would measure the resistance along lines; a high level of resistance could indicate that a crack indeed exists. The system could even pinpoint where on the screen it is located.
Flexible displays like those featured in Samsung’s latest handsets by nature are more prone to cracks from normal usage compared to fixed glass-covered screens. Most users can probably determine if their display has a crack in it, but if it is a very small fault like one that could develop along a crease, it might not be readily apparent. Getting it repaired sooner rather than later could avoid costly downtime when / if it worsens, ultimately rendering the device inoperable.
It’s important to remember that it’s only a patent at this stage, and the tech described in it isn’t guaranteed to appear in a future iPhone. Major tech companies like Apple, Google and Samsung file and receive patents all the time for ideas that never get developed.
Should flexible phones not take off in a meaningful way or if Apple devices to avoid them for whatever reason, it’s entirely possible that this patent will sit in Apple’s portfolio, unused, until it expires.