Apple has filed for another patent (number 20180329456) for an “electronic device” with a wraparound display, which at least hints at the possibility of a foldable iPhone. It’s Apple’s 11th patent regarding such technology.
The invention involves a transparent housing and a flexible display assembly enclosed within a transparent housing. The flexible display assembly is configured to present visual content at any portion of the transparent housing.
In the patent filing, Apple says that improvements portable device’s functionality can perhaps be realized by investigating ways to maximize the utility of unused portions of these devices.
The current form factor of smartphones leaves the sides and rear surfaces of the device unused or at best configured with buttons and switches with fixed location and functionality. Since many of these buttons and switches have fixed functionality they can’t 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.”
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.