Apple's new iPhone? Wraparound display, no buttons

Apple's new iPhone? Wraparound display, no buttons

Summary: A new patent filed by Apple shows us how future smartphones may look.

apple iphone patent design flexible display

Could a future iPhone feature a wraparound display?

According to a new patent filed by Apple, patent application 20130076612, a potential smartphone design could include a full wraparound display and have no buttons. Enclosed within "transparent housing," a flexible display panel would be configured to display content at any portion of the gadget's frame.

The patent application explains:

"The majority of portable electronic device manufacturers utilize a common form factor consisting generally of a flat planar form factor with a single surface dedicated mainly for use as a display surface, while the other surfaces remain largely unused, save for the occasional button or switch."

Potentially, the smartphone could contain up to two AMOLED screens. Standing for Active Matrix OLED -- these types of screen pair a traditional TFT display with an OLED display. Due to their active matrix, AMOLED screens have faster pixel switching, which means that response types are higher than OLED displays. The use of AMOLED and a conical shape for the flexible panel could offer users "an illusion of depth perception [...] mimicking a 3D experience."

In addition, the patent explains that facial recognition technology could be used to detect a registered end-user of the smartphone.

The aim of the new design is to make use of "unused space" which is typical with any current mobile device, extending functionality to both the back and the sides of a gadget. Therefore, Apple may be considering the use of curved screens and a flexible display which not only is touch-responsive, but makes use of the surface on both sides of a future iPhone.

The patent proposes that touch replace buttons entirely -- and a coating could be added to the display to reduce smudge marks and keep the gadget looking pretty. As an example, the application says that "Instead of the hold button a multi touch gesture along one of the sides could instead act as a method of locking and unlocking the hold function."

The new design relies heavily on flexible display technology, but in order to limit the possibility of damage, the patent describes the phone as being incased in glass -- bent into a conical shape, but serving as protection in case you drop your gadget. With such advances being made in the smartphone industry -- and the market already crowded with operating systems, similar phone designs and application ecosystems -- perhaps Apple's move into flexible displays could help the firm keep its dominant position.

Topics: Apple, Smartphones, Tablets

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  • Looks like the iPhone nano...

    Probably just another camping patent waiting to be used in court.
    • How is this patentable?

      Nokia already published this design
      • Cannot Be Closer To This

        You're right. And in fact, Nokia's design seems to go further.
      • yeah

        And Samsung has already been showing off It's flexible displays for awhile.
        • Samsung is the maker of AMOLEDs

          Now wouldn't that be a slap if Samsung chose not to supply Apple with the screens? Apple doesn't make anything, they have to rely on purchasing and contracting all their components.
          • Would't it be funny.

            If Samsung could not build phones using their new screens because Apple has the patent on that particular use case?
          • Samsung Lawsuite

            Yes and here comes another law suite against Samsung, maybe Nokia as well
        • Already a Patent

          Samsung has already filed the patent for the wrap around display
          Moses Anderson
      • So first read the patent.

        Then notice the application date: September 26, 2011
        Now follow your link, click on the Video and View on You Tube
        notice it was Uploaded on Nov 9, 2011

        Now remember that Apple, unlike other vendors like Nokia, never discuss what is going in their research and development.

        An that my friend is how this is patentable.
        • Not quite

          The date of the you tube upload isn't the first public presentation of Nokia's concept - the apple patent can be challenged as it infringes on prior publically available art - assuming Nokia didn't put a patent stick in the ground even before the showed their concepts
    • yep

      Olephobic screens, no physical buttons and facial recognition are old android features.
      • LarsDennert...Apple just put another NAIL in any Windows Phone hopes

        Apple is number ONE for a reason.................

        Let Loverock Davidson & Owlllnet3 figure out why that is..............
        Over and Out
        • #1 in what?

          There is a new set of statistics out that shows apple is no longer #1 in the u.s. Android, last year was behind by about 3%. From last year to Feb 2013, android surpassed apple by 7%. And we already know that android far exceeds iOS internationally.
        • Uhhhhhhhhhhhhh....

          ...Apple is not #1. Not here in the USA, not anywhere - except in fanboy's heads.
          • Yes, they are

            Not just in the U.S.. There is not a single carrier anywhere on the planet, that sells both Android and iOS devices, where the iPhone does not outsell ALL Android devices, combined. The only reason Android has market lead position is because it is on more carriers. Period.
  • Hm

    That doesn't look like a lightning port.
    • Patent Originally Filed 1.5 Years Ago

      The article doesn't make mention but the patent was filed 18 months back. And even if Lightning was in the pipeline why clue other manufacturers of its existence? The patent is not contingent on what ports are pictured.
      • design patent

        considering nothing in this is new technology, surely this is only a design patent?
  • Nokia beat them to it...

    Funny, I posted two comments showing Nokia supplied artwork for this very same concept two years ago...neither of these posts so up with the link to the artwork. Do no one would stop us from showing Apple was number two.
    • Does apple include their incredible breakable screen in the patent lol

      Apple work on a screen that doesn't shatter if a paper clip falls on it before you go nuts with the display.