Apple has patented a design for an “electronic device with wrap around display”, which details a wrap-around AMOLED screen with face tracking capabilities, potentially for use with it's upcoming iPhone 5S or iPhone 6.
Initially filed in September 2011, the patent details a curved display smartphone with a touch screen encompassing nearly the whole of the device.
The screen would make use of the sides and rear of the device, expanding the real estate available for photographic content, icons, videos or anything else viewed on the smartphone.
“Although this form factor lends itself to electronic devices that are aesthetically pleasing and easy to handle,” the patent reads. “The requirement for a planar display and associated circuitry inherently limits the amount of surface area to single surface.”
Smartphones currently on the market have components that limit the size of the screen and therefore the UI. According to the patent, the flexible wrap-around display would take over all of the UI, as there would be no other buttons or switches present on the device. Instead, features like the volume controls, standby mode or call holding would be replaced by gestures, perhaps similar to the AirGesture function in the upcoming Samsung Galaxy S4.
“A flexible display can be folded in such a way as to form a continuous loop such that images (still or video) can be presented in a wrap-around manner in which the images appear to be presented in a continuous loop.”
Made entirely out of glass, the device could use metal columns or other metal structures within the device to provide additional support. As the screen wraps entirely around the device, making it hard to hold without accessing some feature or other, the next-gen smartphone would utilise a user detection system where the person’s face was tracked by inbuilt cameras. The projected visuals would then change according to the section of the device the user was viewing at the time.
The device could also add 3D illusions too, by layering two flexible displays on top of one another, allowing the content to appear simultaneously but slightly out of sync.
“In this way, an illusion of depth perception can be presented mimicking a 3D experience,” the patent adds.
The duo of flexible displays could also present different content on different portions of the device, according to an example given in the patent.
Although this technology is not likely to be utilised in any soon to be launched iPhones, including the iPhone 6, the technology could contain huge potential for the future of smartphone devices.
Would a smartphone like this be something of interest to you? Is a smartphone with a continuous wrap-around screen going to be practical for everyday use? Give us your thoughts via the TrustedReviews Facebook and Twitter feeds or the comments below.