After the surprising patent of an all-glass iMac, a new Apple research describes an all-glass iPhone capable of displaying information, icons and images on any surface, with the entire touch-sensitive device. Yes, an enveloping touchscreen. Here's how it could be.
In U.S. Pat. 20200057525 Apple describes an iPhone with six sides of six-sided glass. The wrapping, explains the patent, can appear – both visually, tactile and functional – as if it were a single piece, without continuity. It would be a great aesthetic advantage, but the functional one is not lacking: in this way the user can interact with the interface and the icons at any point of the device, including not only the front and the back but also all the sides.
In fact, on the sides and also on the back of this hypothetical all-glass iPhone, it is possible to enable numerous additional functions, which are not feasible with conventional solutions. For example, the patent continues, it is possible to use them as additional displays, and they can be tactile, or sensitive to force, so as to transform the side and rear surfaces into further input devices or into surfaces with which the user can interact to control the device same.
Of course, this could involve removing the physical button for power on / standby, as well as the volume rocker. Instead, these functions could be replaced by touch sensitive areas on the sides.
From the designs included in the patent, Apple is also trying to use the edges of the phone to display information related to the UI. There may, for example, be status icons to give you access with a touch to the different airplane modes, rather than Wi-Fi, bluetooth, and more. In summary, the examples shown in the patent include complications similar to those of Apple Watch, for example in the lower side to display weather and temperature, or the real-time listing of the desired shares.
In the patent, as Patentlyapple points out, Cuertino's engineers distinguish between the terminal edges, defining the upper and lower sides of the device as "peripheral sides". The idea is to move away from the classic notion of front, back and sides, minimizing "these distinctions to form a functionally and visually unified display region that spans multiple surfaces". This also translates into a total and enveloping interface, capable of sliding freely in every direction, on all sides of the device.
This patent follows that of November 2019 which also described an enveloping iPhone, albeit with a slightly different design. Obviously, the filing of this patent does not provide any certainty about the future production of such a smartphone. Also in 2014, we remember Apple filing a wraparound display patent.
In any case, Cupertino seems very interested in computers and devices with all-glass chassis: in recent days a patent has emerged for a futuristic all-glass iMac (renderings here), while in this new iPhone dedicated screens and references are also included for another desktop computer and an all-glass Apple Watch.
Looking, however, to a more imminent and certain future, at this address you will find all the information on the next iPhone 12.