Apple has filed for yet another patent (number 20190324503) for an “electronic device with a wraparound display” that hints at possible future incarnations of the iPhone and/or the iPad.
In the patent filing, the tech giant notes that in the last few years the functionality of portable electronic devices has increased exponentially and that further improvements be realized by investigating ways to maximize the utility of unused portions of these devices.
Apple says that the form factor is an interesting area for development given that a large majority of portable electronic devices have settled into a standard form factor — namely a flat planar form factor with a display on one side and an opaque housing that contains the electrical components covering the rear surface of the device. Unfortunately, this popular form factor, leaves the sides and rear surfaces of the device unused or at best configured with buttons and switches with fixed location and functionality, the tech giant adds.
Since many of these buttons and switches have fixed functionality they cannot always be incorporated into third party applications. Apple says there’s a need for an improved form factor for portable electronic devices which allows functionality to extend to more than one surface of the device.
Here’s the summary of the invention: “A consumer electronic product includes at least a transparent housing and a flexible display assembly enclosed within the transparent housing. In the described embodiment, the flexible display assembly is configured to present visual content at any portion of the transparent housing.”
Of course, Apple files for — and is granted — lots of patents by the U.S. Patent & Trademark Office. Many are for inventions that never see the light of day. However, you never can tell which ones will materialize in a real product.