Apple Patents Flexible Display Input Methods

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Apple has patented a way for a computing device to pick up input when a flexible display is bent or reshaped in some way, according to a new filing published by the USPTO today (via AppleInsider). The patent details a process by which new flexible displays can receive input triggers via bending, allowing it to send an MMS message specifically upon receiving a bending cue.

The system details other kinds of triggers, too, including resizing and reconfiguring the display of the device to fit the new proportions of the system after its bending. The patent also talks about pairing multiple flexible displays, storing them in containers including tubes, and using them in combination with GPS triggers to activate location-based advertisements.

The technology sounds like it could be used to create digital magazines and periodicals, and in fact the patent refers to it repeatedly as a “digital periodical” and even specifically as an “advertising device.” The patent originally belonged to a company called HJ Laboratories, however, and Apple seems to have acquired its IP before the company dissolved, as both inventors listed have now moved on to separate positions over the past few years, not at Apple.

Apple’s acquisition of this patent might mean it’s looking at ways to shore up its own flexible display research and development efforts, or that it’s just hedging its bets against future developments. Either way, we’ll probably see something a little more sophisticated should Apple enter the flexible display device market.