Apple could be working on stretchable displays for its devices, as per a new patent

iPhone 15 from the front
One day we might get an iPhone with a stretched display (Image credit: Future)

Apple has long been rumored to be working on a foldable iPhone, but a new patent suggests there might be screens that stretch as well as screens that bend in development for numerous upcoming Apple products.

As spotted by AppleInsider, the patent is simply titled "Stretchable Display", and goes on to describe a screen that can wrap around different surfaces and shapes, while still operating like a standard OLED display.

While the patent doesn't specifically mention any devices in the Apple portfolio, it could potentially be used for a number of them. Imagine a HomePod with a display that curves around the top of the speaker, for example.

The patent is notable for the number of inventors attached: 55 rather than the usual 10 or so. However, as ever with patents, this is only an indication of what a company is spending time researching – there's no guarantee we'll ever see this tech in an actual product.

How this could be used

Apple stretchable display patent

The patent includes several stretchable display diagrams (Image credit: Apple/USPTO)

We've already mentioned how a future HomePod could have a display that stretches and wraps around the device, and such a display could also find a use in a foldable iPhone – enabling the phone to have a wraparound screen on the outside, as has been rumored.

Then there's the Apple Watch. The Apple Watch 10 is supposedly bringing some design tweaks with it, but a future model could have a screen that wraps all around the wrist (Apple has actually filed patents hinting at this in the past).

The patent mentions phones and watches, but also laptops, smart glasses, virtual reality headsets, and kiosk and car displays. This is clearly a technology that could find a place in many Apple products, if development on it continues.

That development will most likely take several years, so we're not going to see it appear in the iPhone 16. However, don't be surprised if future Apple devices, like an all-screen MacBook, arrive with displays that can stretch as well as fold.

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David Nield
Freelance Contributor

Dave is a freelance tech journalist who has been writing about gadgets, apps and the web for more than two decades. Based out of Stockport, England, on TechRadar you'll find him covering news, features and reviews, particularly for phones, tablets and wearables. Working to ensure our breaking news coverage is the best in the business over weekends, David also has bylines at Gizmodo, T3, PopSci and a few other places besides, as well as being many years editing the likes of PC Explorer and The Hardware Handbook.