Apple working on rollable iPhone that will make Galaxy Z Flip look boring

iPhone 11 Pro vs iPhone X
(Image credit: Future)

Apple is considering adding a rollable display for its products, including the iPhone, Apple Watch and many other items.

A new Apple patent (reported by AppleInsider), titled "Electronic device with flexible display structures," details an idea for a flexible screen that can be rolled up and stored within a device.

(Image credit: USPTO)

One main roller would contain the display when stowed, while optional secondary rollers would help unravel it when needed, in order to keep the screen stable when extended. This wouldn't necessarily replace the standard fixed screen on your iPhone or iPad, but could be a secondary display you could pull out when needed. For example, the fixed display could become a touch keyboard, while the rollout display could be used to display content. 

Apple suggests the display could be housed in a transparent structure, allowing it to serve a purpose at all times. Apple also builds on this idea by proposing a foldable device concept that uses this rollable display to make sure it can bend without damaging the screen's components.

And while this technology makes most sense in a tablet or phone from our perspective, Apple has made sure to cover all its bases in the text of the patent. The company suggests this idea could be implemented in larger items like a laptop, or smaller ones like a watch or glasses.

Of course, patents are just until put into practice. And should Apple decide to make this rollable display a reality, it could still be years before we see it on a consumer product. 

Richard Priday
Assistant Phones Editor

Richard is based in London, covering news, reviews and how-tos for phones, tablets, gaming, and whatever else people need advice on. Following on from his MA in Magazine Journalism at the University of Sheffield, he's also written for WIRED U.K., The Register and Creative Bloq. When not at work, he's likely thinking about how to brew the perfect cup of specialty coffee.