Today the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office officially granted Apple a patent that relates to privacy films for curved displays. For professionals that want to keep what they're working on private, Apple has the solution and one designed to also work on curved displays.
Electronic devices often include displays. For example, laptop computers have displays. Displays are typically designed to display images over a relatively wide angle of view to accommodate movements in the position of a viewer relative to the display. In some situations, such as when a user of a laptop or other device with a display is using the device in public, the wide viewing angle is undesirable as it compromises privacy.
In some situations, privacy may be a concern for a user of an electronic device with a display. The user may, for example, wish to limit the viewing angle of the display to prevent neighboring people from viewing the display. In certain user scenarios, reducing the viewing angle may also offer a better user experience. A privacy film may be used to reduce the viewing angle of a display. A privacy film may be a removable privacy film that is selectively placed over a display in an electronic device or a privacy film may be integrated within a display in an electronic device.
The privacy film may have a light-blocking layer that is interposed between first and second transparent substrates. The light-blocking layer may have a plurality of opaque portions and a plurality of transparent portions. The opaque portions may be shaped to ensure light from the display is directed only to the primary viewer of the display.
Each opaque portion of the light-blocking layer may extend along a respective longitudinal axis between the first transparent substrate and the second transparent substrate. Privacy films used to cover planar displays may have opaque portions that all extend along parallel longitudinal axes.
Privacy films used to cover curved displays, however, may have opaque portions that extend along longitudinal axes that have different angles relative to the transparent substrates. Opaque portions in the center of the privacy film may have longitudinal axes that are substantially perpendicular to the transparent substrates. Opaque portions in the edge of the privacy film, however, may have longitudinal axes that are at non-perpendicular angles with respect to the transparent substrates. This arrangement may allow for a viewer of a curved display covered by the privacy film to view both the center and edges of the curved display.
A privacy film for a curved display may also include a light-redirecting layer. The light-redirecting layer may redirect light towards the primary viewer of the display. In the edge of the display, light may be redirected by a larger angle than in the center of the display. The light-redirecting layer may be a prism layer or a liquid crystal layer. A coherent fiber bundle may also be used in a privacy film to redirect light to a primary viewer of a curved display.
Apple's patent FIG. 4 below is a cross-sectional side view of an illustrative display being used in a wide viewing angle mode; FIG. 5 is a cross-sectional side view of an illustrative display of the type shown in FIG. 4 being used in a reduced-viewing-angle mode.
Apple's patent FIG. 8 above is a cross-sectional side view of an illustrative privacy film having opaque portions that are perpendicular to an underlying planar display; FIG. 9 is a cross-sectional side view of an illustrative privacy film having opaque portions that are perpendicular to an underlying curved display.
For greater details, review Apple's granted patent 10,983,256.