A longstanding, slow-burning rumour has suggested that Apple is working on a phone with a futuristic wraparound screen. Now, a newly discovered patent is making the rumours sound a bit more concrete.
The curved screen would function on both sides of the iPhone. It certainly sounds innovative but, on a practical level, we’re not quite sure how this will help users at this point.
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But temper your expectations, wraparound screen fans, as this isn’t likely to be a feature on the next iPhone. Screen innovations are very much in vogue at the moment though, with Samsung launching the Samsung Galaxy Fold, so we’re not surprised to see further evidence Apple making its own efforts in the field.
The image below, from the patent (via Patently Apple), shows one side of the screen and gives an impression of how the two sides could work together. At this point, the diagram raises more questions than it answers…
How is this helpful? Will I accidentally press things on the rear screen while looking at the front one? How will I keep the screen clean? What if I drop it? And, crucially for the post-Brexit economy, will everyone who makes and sells phone cases become unemployed?
For those butter-fingered phone fans among you, I guess if you drop it and crack the screen, then at least you’ll be able to use the other side?
Apple must have something a little more sophisticated in mind, however, as this is the 13th patent filing the company has made in relation to a wraparound screen. That’s right − the 13th. The US tech giant has been working on this one for a while.
This latest patent update, which was filed late last month, notes that a “transparent structure forms a continuous loop around a periphery of the electronic device.”
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This wording, in combination with the image above, gives users an idea of how the device might work. Whether this innovation will be fully realised, and sold as part of an Apple product, remains to be seen.
Whenever features like this appear in patents, it’s worth remembering that they might be lost in development. Issues may arise or, when tested, the system might not be as usable as it is unique. We’ll have to wait and see what happens to Apple’s wraparound screen.