Apple Gets Patent for Flexible iPhones

January 24, 2017

Unlocking Word Meanings

Read the following words/expressions found in today’s article. 

1. patent / ˈpæt nt / (n.) – the exclusive right granted by a government to an inventor to sell or manufacture an invention
Example: The design may be stolen if the company does not apply for a patent.

2. element / ˈɛl ə mənt / (n.) – a component or characteristic of something
Example: One of the most important elements of a device is its design.

3. hinge / hɪndʒ / (n.) – a flexible piece on which an object or its part is attached
Example: The door cannot be closed because its hinge is broken.

4. warp  / wɔrp / (v.) – to be twisted or misshaped
Example: The can was warped by the sun’s heat.

5. bandwagon / ˈbændˌwæg ən / (n.) – a popular activity or trend that several people do or support
Example: The singer jumped into the pop bandwagon and stopped singing rock music.


Read the text below.
The US Patent and Trademark Office has granted Apple a patent for flexible and bendable iPhone designs.

The patent, which was filed back in July 2014, covers different designs of foldable smartphones. The newly patented iPhone designs resemble old flip phones, which can be folded in half. One common element among the designs is the use of carbon nanotubes, which would enable the phones to be flexible and bendable.

Carbon nanotubes form the center hinge of the phones and allow the devices to be bent forward or backward. The design will also allow phones to resist breaking when dropped or warped out of shape.

The designs also highlight the use of organic light-emitting diode (OLED) display, a very thin and durable display that can be folded or rolled. This type of technology is already being used by advanced smartphone models such as the Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge. The quality of the images is better on OLED screens than on LCD screens, which is what Apple is currently using in most of its devices.

Apple applied for the bendable iPhone patent in its quest to improve the durability and innovate the appearance of its devices. After being granted the patent, the US technology giant is now set to join the foldable smartphone bandwagon.

This year, several smartphone makers have shown off prototypes of bendable smartphone models that may be released in the future. For instance, Lenovo displayed some of the bendable devices it is working on in a conference in San Francisco last June. Samsung and LG are also said to be working on their own versions of flexible phones.

Viewpoint Discussion

Enjoy a discussion with your tutor.  

Discussion A

·         Do you think that flexible and bendable iPhones will be successful? Why or why not?
·         What are the possible disadvantages of bendable smartphones? How can these be addressed?

Discussion B

·         What items or gadgets could benefit from being made bendable? Discuss.
·         Aside from being flexible and bendable, what new features or characteristics should gadgets have?

January 24, 2017