Apple has just been awarded a patent from the US Patents and Trademark Office for “Electronic devices with flexible displays” that involves multiple display panel layers with incorporated actuators that morphs into buttons, sliders, toggle switches, and more.
Right off the bat, this sounds like something out of a sci-fi film. The patent that nearly slipped under the radar shows that the morphing display will be able to interact with user’s movements thus reacting to commands on the task they doing. (Has anyone here seen Man of Steel?)
Actuators and components beneath a flexible screen, presumably an OLED panel, will be raised to create a temporary ridge in certain part of the screen to fashion a button that has actual tactile feel.
Apple might also implement haptic feedback such as sound and vibrations that are natively created from the screen itself. It would definitely be a surprise if Apple manages to fit all of these beneath a display panel. According to Apple, the technology would be applied to iPhones or iPads where there are superiority of space. The company also hints that MacBook’s touchpad might also see a change in the future.
However, let’s not get our hopes that high that Apple would be implementing this technology soon as the tech giant is known for applying for patents that they put off to later years.