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Apple patent reveals future iPhone with wraparound display

U.S. Patent and Trademark Office diagram of wraparaound iPhone
Diagram of wraparaound iPhone, submitted to U.S. Patent and Trademark Office by Apple.U.S. Patent and Trademark Office

Who wants their smartphone screen on just one side when they can have it on both? A new Apple patent application published today by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office details a device that ditches a flat design and instead goes for a flexible, wraparound AMOLED display. This could have huge implications for future iPhones.

Instead of sharp edges, the curved, wraparound design would allow for a wider selection of items on display, so users could hypothetically view 10 apps on their screen instead of, say, 5, and view photos, videos and text on their screen from all 360 degrees around. Plus, going for a wraparound display would abandon physical buttons, so users would be fully reliant on touch gestures to use their device.

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The patent also points out a way to include two flexible displays, one laying on top of the other. Although content on both displays would be the same, it would look a bit different and look almost 3D. “An illusion of depth perception can be presented mimicking a 3-D experience,” the patent reads. This could also be used with a heads-up display, basically building a second screen into one device. The patent also mentions built-in facial recognition.

Apple has applied for patents regarding flexibility before, such as the “Electronic Devices With Flexible Displays” patent last year. Other device makers have this same concept on their minds, too, such as Samsung. Rumor has it that the Galaxy Note 3 will have the world’s first “unbreakable” flexible display, but that’s just for the front of a device.

If Apple actually executes something like this, it will definitely change the way we use smartphones, though we suspect case makers wouldn’t be too happy.

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