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Both Apple and Samsung are working on Devices that will use transparent displays & support Augmented Reality

1 cover transparent displays


Both Apple and Samsung have been working on devices supporting transparent displays in general and for augmented reality for some time. Our cover graphic illustrates an Apple patent figure filed in 2009 covering a transparent display that could be used with augmented reality. Apple filed the patent in 2009 and we covered it in a patent report in 2011. The report included a video of Samsung showing off a prototype of such a display at CES 2009. Below is a video from Wired where we're able to see an updated Samsung unit shown at CES 2010.  



At the time it was a concept without a mission. Since then Samsung filed a patent for a future smartphone with a transparent display in 2014 as illustrated below.


2 samsung phone with transparent display

Other patents and news on this type of Samsung display was detailed in a 2015 Patently Mobile report covering a transparent TV, mirrors and active retail store windows.


In 2017 Patently Apple posted two reports about Apple working on devices with transparent displays that could be used for augmented reality features. One covered a partial window on a possible future iPhone while the other covered transparent displays for a possible future MacBook or iMac. The iPhone concept is illustrated below.


3 Apple partial windown iphone for AR

This week Samsung was granted a design patent for another smartphone with a transparent display. Unfortunately design patents only show patent figures of a design and not a single detail describing it. Though if you enlarge the image, I've made an observation as to why this is a transparent display. 



It's a very interesting design. Though in theory the foldable cover would have to be designed to include the phone's battery as there's little room for the electronics considering the transparent display takes up 80% of the device. Either that or Samsung has a breakthrough battery on the drawing board.


It's evident that both Samsung and Apple have been experimenting with the idea of an Augmented Reality display for some time now with few tech fans paying attention. Yet ever since Apple stunned techland with ARKit at last year's WWDC event, AR displays no longer seem as futuristic as they once did.


Yet with powerful backside cameras on smartphones these days, it's still difficult to see why a transparent display on a smartphone even makes sense. I think that's why Apple is now exploring and working on smartglasses, be it an accessory for the iPhone or a standalone device. It would seem to be the most practical solution for augmented reality. Then again, it doesn't have to be an either or situation, it's just a matter of what solution will be more practical to bring to market first.


6 smart glasses


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Another 2013 Samsung patent illustrates other applications for transparent displays: Samsung Seeks Patent for Smart Transparent Displays




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