Is the scene being set for the next mega-battle between Samsung and Apple? Mere days after Samsung announced it will be showing off its flexible, bendable display technology at CES 2013, Apple has been granted a patent for—you guessed it—bending glass.
Apple's patent doesn't cover flexible screens, though, and it does not preclude other companies from developing products with curved displays. Instead, it simply details a novel method for bending glass during the "slumping" process of glass manufacturing.
Apple's process describes a way to move the glass mold in-process in order to dynamically change the shape of the glass without cracking or weakening the material. The patent says the process could be used to create glass covers for portable electronics and larger displays alike.
Does that mean we'll see crazily curved MacBooks and iPhones before the year is out? Don't count on it. For one thing, Apple applies for and is granted a dozen-plus patents week in and week out, covering a wide range of applications and device types. Many of these patents are never actually used in consumer products.
If Apple does decide to use this glass-bending technology, however, we'd expect to see it first in a third device class the company lists as a potential use case: peripherals. Sure, glass-covered touchpads are nice, but an all-glass Magic Mouse or Magic Trackpad would be the bee's knees. (At least until you dropped it on the kitchen floor.)