The US Patent and Trademark Office officially published a series of 36 newly granted patents for Apple Inc. today. In this particular report we cover a possible future iPhone with wraparound display that will use virtual buttons, replacing today's physical buttons for volume controls. The new design may use optically transparent glass to form the new iPhone design.
Patent: iPhone with Wraparound Display
Apple has been granted a patent today for their invention relating to an iPhone with a wraparound flexible display. The display may be a flexible AMOLED display. In one aspect, this possible future iPhone could include a second flexible display assembly. The second display acts to present visual content in cooperation with the flexible display assembly as noted in our cover graphic.
Apple's patent introduces virtualization of the traditional physical buttons which will allow for expanded functionality. For example, the volume control, noted as #406 in patent FIG. 4 below, can be located at roughly the same position it would be if it were configured as a physical button; however, in this configuration the actual volume setting can be seen at any time (indicated by the circle between the + and - indicators). Additionally, by holding a finger over the volume indicator an action could be triggered expanding the volume control over the entire left side of the device.
Once the adjustment control is released the control can return to its original size. A hold switch is another popular function that is often assigned to a physical button. Instead of the hold button a multi touch gesture along one of the sides could instead act as a method of locking and unlocking the hold function.
Apple's patent FIG. 4 shows a perspective view of portable electronic device in operation. Notice how the wrap around display substantially increases the available display area that can be used for display of icons, data, images, video and such. For example, as shown in FIG. 4, up to five application icons can be presented that span the width of display 401.
Apple's patent specifically states that "Microphones 402 and speaker 404 allow portable electronic device 200 to act as a portable personal communication device, such as a smart phone.
Apple's patent also notes that the advanced iPhone design may contain several cameras and use facial recognition. In this way, any of the cameras can periodically capture an image and using basic facial recognition software, one or more of cameras can be used to track the movement the end user's face in the space around it and as such be able to determine a general direction of the end-user and the field of vision of the end user and adjust the presentation of visual content by display accordingly.
According to Apple, the new iPhone design could use optically transparent or semi-transparent glass. One has to wonder if this could be a candidate product for Apple's sapphire plant.
You could check out Patently Apple's original report that was posted back in March 2013 for more details. Apple's granted patent 8,665,236 was originally filed in Q3 2011 and credits Scott Myers as the inventor.
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