Apple patent reveals a smartphone with wraparound display

If you thought only Android smartphone makers like Samsung are interested in curved smartphone screens, better think again. Apple was, in fact, thinking of something even more radical as far back as 2011. Cupertino was just granted a patent for an "Electronic device with wrap around display" that does exactly what it says in the text. It has a screen that goes from front to side to back to side to front again. Like a double-sided Samsung Galaxy edge, but an iPhone, of course.

The idea is just as radical as the foldable smartphones that Samsung (and now Lenovo) are expected to launch soon. On the other hand, it could also be easier to pull off today from a manufacturing point of view as the screen, though bent, is rigid and simply curved. From the OS and user experience angle, however, it might be equally or even more difficult to implement.

Unlike a smartphone with a curved edge like the Galaxy S7 edge, there are no edges to this wraparound display, hence the term "wraparound". The display really flows around the device as a whole and not in segmented parts. However, certain areas can still be used for what were traditionally locations for hardware buttons, like a volume slider, not buttons, at the side. It is notable that there is no home button either, which opens the door for gesture-based actions to get to the home screen. A fingerprint scanner could be embedded underneath the display, as some other technologies might provide.

The exact usefulness of this type of smartphone is naturally debatable. Of course, it is nice that the entire surface of the smartphone could be dedicated to displays, but doesn't yet factor in human-computer interaction, usability, and practicality. If users were already blamed for holding their regular smartphones wrong, imagine holding one that is almost 100% touch screen. Good thing, then, that this is still a patent that may or may not see the light of day.

VIA: Patently Apple