A new patent application published by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office today reveals Apple has been working on an iPhone with flexible wraparound display.
In the patent application, Apple has proposed a mobile device, which appears to be the iPhone with the Phone app icon etc. using a wraparound display enclosed within a transparent housing made entirely of glass.
Here’s an excerpt from the patent application:
This paper describes various embodiments that relate to an apparatus, method, and computer readable medium for creating a portable electronic device with a wraparound display.
In one embodiment, a consumer electronic product is described. The consumer electronic product includes at least a transparent housing and a flexible display assembly enclosed within the transparent housing. In the described embodiment, the flexible display assembly is configured to present visual content at any portion of the transparent housing.
In one aspect of the described embodiment, the consumer electronic product includes a second flexible display assembly. The second display acts to present visual content in cooperation with the flexible display assembly.
The patent notes that the transparent housing could be made of glass as it is strong, stiff and radio transparent, which would also make it a suitable material for an enclosure of an electronic device like the iPhone capable of wireless communications. It also notes that the glass enclosure could be coated with an oleophobic coating to reduce finger prints and smudging and also with an anti-reflective coating to reduce glare.
The patent also notes that using a flexible glass display can provide additional viewing area without increasing the size or shape of the electronic device.
Apple product designer engineer Scott Myers who has been credited with the patent, also explains how the physical buttons for say the volume, can be replaced with virtual buttons. The mobile device with the flexible wrap-around display can display content in any direction, so it would need to use the camera and other sensors to determine the field of vision of the end user and adjust the content on the display appropriately.
If you’re wondering how Apple will fit a camera into such a device with glass enclosure then the patent suggests that it could be embedded in the end caps that would be fastened on both sides of the glass enclosure.
We would love to see an iPhone with a flexible display, but let’s hope they use a sapphire display so that it won’t crack when you drop it and cannot be scratched with keys, or even by a concrete sidewalk.
This is the second Apple patent application, which talks about the use of flexible display in an electronic device. Last month, a patent application revealed that Apple was working on a wearable accessory with a full-length flexible touchscreen display.