iPhones with curved displays may also come with privacy films

Apple has filed for, and been granted, dozens of patents for curved, flexible, or foldable iPhones. Now there’s a new one:  patent filing number 20210208313) for “privacy films for curved display.”

Background of the patent filing

Admittedly, the patent could involve other Apple devices, including laptops and iPads. However, the iPhone is the obvious focus of the patent filing.

In it, Apple notes that displays on electronic devices 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. 

However, 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. 

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. 

Apple’s idea? A privacy film that may be used to reduce the viewing angle of a display. It may be a removable privacy film that’s selectively placed over a display in an electronic device. Or the privacy film may be integrated within a display in an electronic device. 

Summary of the patent filing

Here’s Apple’s summary of the patent filing: “A 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 and second transparent substrates. 

“Privacy films used to cover curved displays may have opaque portions that extend along longitudinal axes that have different angles relative to the transparent substrates. Opaque portions in the edge of the privacy film may have longitudinal axes that are at non-perpendicular angles with respect to the transparent substrates. A privacy film for a curved display may also include a light-redirecting layer such as a prism layer or a liquid crystal layer.”

The accompanying mock-up of a foldable iPhone is courtesy of “iPhoneHacks.”

Dennis Sellers
the authorDennis Sellers
Dennis Sellers is the editor/publisher of Apple World Today. He’s been an “Apple journalist” since 1995 (starting with the first big Apple news site, MacCentral). He loves to read, run, play sports, and watch movies.