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Want to link two screens as a single display? A new Apple patent may allow it

A new Apple patent envisions bringing together two or more devices to act as one large, seamless display through sensor technology.

The patent, first reported by Patently Apple, is titled System With Multiple Electronic Devices and was initially submitted in June 2017 and published on March 10. The patent describes seamlessly dividing one image into two separate displays between separate devices, which the patent calls “joint operating mode.” 

“In the joint operating mode, images may extend across displays in the devices, speakers in respective devices may be used to play different channels of an audio track, cameras and sensors in different devices may be used in cooperation with each other, and other resources may be shared,” the patent reads. 


It’s a feature that the Microsoft Duo and Neo have, which enlarges one image to go over both of a device’s screens when unfolded. However, it appears that Apple’s patent looks to use the technology across separate devices. Essentially, two separate devices could come together and attach as one, creating one larger device that would allow seamless image display between both of the devices. Apple’s patent describes using magnets and sensors to connect to devices. 

“The electronic devices may use sensor measurements and other information to detect when an edge of a first device is adjacent to an edge of a second electronic device,” the patent continues. 

Apple envisions the joint operating mode to be able to connect to all of its devices, from smartphones to iPads and even to Macbooks. 

“[Both may] be cellular telephones, both may be wristwatch devices, both may be tablet computers, both may be laptop computers, both may be desktop computers, etc,” continues the patent, “[or they] may be different types of devices. For example … a tablet computer and … a cellular telephone,” explains the patent. 

All of this is still only a patent, so we may never actually this type of device in action. Digital Trends reached out to Apple to comment on the patent, and we will update this story when we hear back. 

Apple’s possibly related interest in foldable devices isn’t anything new. Last month, the company published a patent that featured a sophisticated hinge mechanism. Apple called the mechanism “movable flaps,” which would prevent the display from being creased when folded — a common flaw found on folding machines most manufacturers like Samsung still haven’t been able to overcome.

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