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macrumors bot
Original poster
Apr 12, 2001
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An Apple patent application published yesterday (via Patently Apple) by the United States Patent and Trademark office details the creation of a flexible battery shape, suggesting that the company is exploring solutions for future products that may take on a unique shape, such as the rumored iWatch.

The patent, which was filed in December of 2011, covers a flexible battery pack that consists of several different cells connected through a laminate layer, designed to "allow the battery to be shaped to fit a form factor of the electronic device."

flexiblebattery.jpg
Electronic devices are ubiquitous in society and can be found in everything from portable cell phones to wristwatches. Many of these electronic devices require some type of portable power source. Many of these electronic devices also have unique form factors. Because of this, the portable power source of any one electronic device may not fit within any other electronic device.

Furthermore, these unique form factors often require flexible battery arrangements, whereas conventional battery packs are often too rigid to flexibly conform to these form factors. For example, lithium-ion batteries, such as lithium polymer battery cells, are quite rigid and bending them repeatedly may cause damage to the battery cells and battery failure. As a result of attempting to accommodate inflexible battery packs, the packaging of portable electronic devices may not be optimally sized.
Apple's patent also suggests that a flexible battery pack could have certain cells removed to incorporate thermoelectric coolers, flashes, or a camera, allowing the battery to fit more snugly into a small space. The company points out that an isolated flexible cell arrangement increases device reliability as well, preventing multiple connected cells from failing at once due to environmental factors like moisture or dust.

According to Apple, its flexible battery solution could be used in a number of devices, including "wristwatches, calculators, laptop computers, tablet computers, and/or music players."

A patent application published in March and a job listing in April suggested that Apple was researching iPhones constructed with flexible wraparound displays, and such designs would likely incorporate the flexible battery detailed in yesterday's patent.

Apple's much rumored "iWatch" could also take advantage of a flexible battery, as a February patent revealed that the company was experimenting with a potential wraparound touch-sensitive display.

In recent weeks, Apple has filed for a number of trademarks on the iWatch name around the world. According to rumors, Apple has 100 product designers working on the watch, which is likely to launch in 2014.

Article Link: Apple Patent Details Flexible Battery Shape for Future Devices
 

NT1440

macrumors Pentium
May 18, 2008
15,033
21,999
Apple's really had some very exciting patents for batteries in the last few years.
 

NT1440

macrumors Pentium
May 18, 2008
15,033
21,999
Will these batteries also bulge and explode? :p

Apple iPhone 5 reportedly explodes during phone call in Thailand

MacBook Air battery exploding/expanding

Apple hasn't had the best track record with batteries, although many of them were manufactured by the same company for other retailers.

Chemistry.

All LiPo batteries have the same slight fire/swelling risk. Can't tell you how many Android, Windows, and iOS devices I've seen with swollen batteries working for the geeksquad the past few years.
 

3282868

macrumors 603
Jan 8, 2009
5,281
0
Chemistry.

All LiPo batteries have the same slight fire/swelling risk. Can't tell you how many Android, Windows, and iOS devices I've seen with swollen batteries working for the geeksquad the past few years.

Oh, I know, I was just being facetious and teasing. It happens to all batteries cross tech, Apple just gets the brunt of it cause, well, Apple is "evil" ;)
 

Klae17

macrumors 65816
Jul 15, 2011
1,242
1,653
Wow. How can the patent system be so broken? This is completely obvious and I should have patented it and I can be making millions by now because I know more about patents than Apple. /s
 

Bistroengine

macrumors 6502
Jan 16, 2004
286
292
If this is for the rumored iWatch, you can bet that the batteries will be integrated into the watches wrist straps.
 

iglobe

macrumors newbie
Oct 12, 2012
29
0
Display Spec:Iwatch display res 1136x640 4" .this resolution looks better on hand then an broader 720p ,this the only reason apple choose that weird long remote display resolution .also good for developers ,no need to develope app for new display resolution.
 

blitzer09x87

macrumors 6502
May 19, 2013
408
0
hmmm...impressive. i hope they bring out the flexible battery asap, i dont want it to just get lost in the millions of patents owned by apple.
 

jack2wai2

macrumors member
Nov 5, 2012
48
0
Impressive

Now, Samsung created flexible screen while Apple created flexible battery. The war...

How can we expect flexible smartphone in the future without these two companies work together?
 

fenderbass146

macrumors 65816
Mar 11, 2009
1,461
2,557
Northwest Indiana
Chemistry.

All LiPo batteries have the same slight fire/swelling risk. Can't tell you how many Android, Windows, and iOS devices I've seen with swollen batteries working for the geeksquad the past few years.

Side note. I work for geek squad also and I've seen quite a few old iPhone 4 and 4s crack the back glass just because of battery swelling. Where you work for geek squad at?
 

Big-TDI-Guy

macrumors 68030
Jan 11, 2007
2,606
13
Um... flexible / mold forming batteries have been around for... near decades. :confused: Yes, different chemistry, but the jump to this chemistry I'd say is obvious to people familiar power storage / electronics packaging.

The cost of tooling / manufacturing likely kept them out of the mainstream back then - but this is by no stretch, something unique. I hope a patent is not granted solely for this.

Especially when a quick google yields: http://www.tomshardware.com/news/Flexible-Batteries-Research-Lithium-Ion,16852.html
 

Casiotone

macrumors 6502a
Oct 12, 2008
825
111
Now, Samsung created flexible screen while Apple created flexible battery. The war...

How can we expect flexible smartphone in the future without these two companies work together?

Because Samsung is not the first, nor the only company that "invented" flexible screens? (despite all the "futuristic" demos they've done trying to make you think otherwise.)

Also, I still don't see how a flexible screen could be usable as a touch screen.

What an iWatch needs is not a flexible screen, but a curved touchscreen that doesn't deform when you touch it.
 

3282868

macrumors 603
Jan 8, 2009
5,281
0
How about OLED displays so thin they're like newspapers that change as news reports change a la "Minority Report"? That would be amazing!
 

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TMay

macrumors 68000
Dec 24, 2001
1,520
1
Carson City, NV
Um... flexible / mold forming batteries have been around for... near decades. :confused: Yes, different chemistry, but the jump to this chemistry I'd say is obvious to people familiar power storage / electronics packaging.

The cost of tooling / manufacturing likely kept them out of the mainstream back then - but this is by no stretch, something unique. I hope a patent is not granted solely for this.

Especially when a quick google yields: http://www.tomshardware.com/news/Flexible-Batteries-Research-Lithium-Ion,16852.html

It's the specifics that are potentially patentable. People here don't seem to understand that the design and the manufacturing process of making these is where the patents are applicable.

Making a practical watchband with a series of batteries in it would be patentable as well. Perhaps this patent foreshadows that?

As to flexibility, there is a great deal of difference between flex necessary for a one time installation process and that necessary for a device to be attached and removed from the wrist multiple times during the day for the lifetime of the product.

Of course, not stating that this is what the patent refers to.
 

damir00

macrumors 6502a
Oct 30, 2011
744
7
Hmm....I may have priority on this one...came up with an application for embedding batteries in the curve of a over-ear headphone head piece...

Will have to read this one closely....
 
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