Apple Patents Method of Forming a Curved Touch Surface
Apple has patented a method of forming a curved touch surface in a patent titled, 'Curved Touch Sensor'.
Apple's says the method can include depositing and patterning a conductive thin film on a flexible substrate to form at least one touch sensor pattern, while the flexible substrate is in a flat state. According to certain embodiments, the method can include supporting the flexible substrate in the flat state on at least one curved forming substrate having a predetermined curvature; and performing an anneal process, or an anneal-like high-heat process, on the conductive thin film, wherein the anneal process can cause the flexible substrate to conform to the predetermined curvature of the at least one curved forming substrate.
The company also indicates that this touch sensor can be incorporated within a touch screen.
The thin film material used to form the drive and sense electrodes can be a substantially transparent conductive material, such as Indium Tin Oxide (ITO) or Antimony Tin Oxide (ATO), for example. However, the thin film 109 can be any other transparent or non-transparent conductive materials, such as silver ink, copper, SiO.sub.2, or the like. Thin film 109 can be laminated to substrate 108; however, other than applying ITO, or any other layer, via thin film 109, the ITO can be deposited using a sputtering process, a lithography etch, or any other deposition technique.
While Apple's competitors have already released curved smartphones (ie. Samsung Galaxy Round, LG G Flex), there haven't been any substantial rumors of a curved iPhone in the works. However, it is possible that Apple might incorporate a curved touch surface in its rumored iWatch.
Read More [via AppleInsider]