The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office recently granted Apple 59 new patents in various fields. Among them, one of the patents highlights how Apple plans on replacing the edges of iPhones and iPads with a sidewall display.
The company envisions using a curved display on its iPhone or iPad which covers the edges of the device. The display will be protected by a layer of plastic or clear glass to avoid it from getting scratched or scuffed easily.
The patent envisions Apple replacing the physical buttons on its iPhones with a display that will show virtual buttons. This will allow the display to change the virtual buttons depending on the application one is using. In another scenario, Apple envisions moving icons from the primary dock to the edges of the display.
The original patent application was filed by Apple back in 2013, with the company making some changes to it in February this year. In the updated patent, Apple adds force touch capabilities to the sidewall displays along with haptic feedback. The patent application mentions Apple using the sidewall displays not just on its iPhones and iPads but also on its MacBook lineup.
Another and perhaps more interesting patent granted to Apple is regarding liquid metal. The patent highlights the company using liquid metal parts for future iPhones and iPads.
We have already seen Samsung and other OEMs launch smartphones with displays that are curved on its edges. While such displays are definitely cool to look at, they do hamper usability and add little in terms of functionality. Plus, given how slim iPhones and iPads are getting every passing generation, it is unlikely that we are ever going to see Apple implement it.
Using a curved display will allow Apple to further increase the display footprint but given that it does not bring much to the table in terms of usability, my bet is that we are never really going to see this patent materialize into one of Apple products.
[Via Patently Apple]