Apple’s future iPhone could have a wrap-around display, while sporting an all-glass – and possibly portless – casing for a sleek exterior appearance.
Apple’s design choices for the iPhone have always been widely debated by observers, with choices to implement specific styles and features often copied by competitors, such as the infamous Notch. If Apple implements the ideas proposed in a pair of patents issued Tuesday by the US Patent and Trademark Office, a future iPhone could end up being completely covered in clear glass with zero penetration for wired ports, and could even have a wrap-around screen. .
Apple iPhone with full glass housing
In the first of two patents, simply titled “Glass Case,” Apple suggests how a portable computing device could use glass for its case. While the pictures and threads illustrate the older click-wheel iPod, the record also suggests that it could be applied to virtually any portable device, like a smartphone.
Apple argues that a design challenge for device makers is that it is generally necessary for case structures to involve multiple layers in a sandwich, secured by some sort of fixing mechanism like screws that make the assembly tedious and tedious. It is also suggested that there is a need to create a more aesthetic enclosure, while being durable.
The glass tube may have sections cut out before adding electronics.
Apple’s solution is to create a glass case, but unlike iPhones with glass backs and side seams, the intention this time around is to create one that doesn’t sit on a multi-part case. Instead, Apple wants to produce a case that consists of a single component, a potentially transparent case.
Glass can be extruded into a tube, making it possible to fabricate devices with rounded edges and a tubular body. Depending on the implementation, the glass could have additional pieces of glass placed at the top and bottom of the tube, completely surrounding the electronics inside.
As the glass is extruded, it can be used to create different body shapes, including devices with curved edges that are not flat. Although there is a gasket at these cap gaskets, adhered by a laser bonding system, the main body of the glass would not have a gasket around.
Since this would be both the shield and the outer casing, the glass could have varying properties, such as being transparent, translucent, and opaque in different areas. This would avoid having to create an opaque section to hide items from view in the enclosure.
The glass-making process flowchart indicates that Apple wants to create the hollow tube and then cut out sections of the tube to allow specific features to work, such as the speaker holes. The edges of the glass would be treated to create chamfered or rounded edges, with the polished, textured surface protected by additional coatings, before the caps were placed and sealed.
As a bonus, an appropriate selection of materials would allow an iPhone case that is completely transparent to radio emissions. This could theoretically increase Wi-Fi and wireless performance, or allow the use of smaller antennas in the unit.
Additionally, an all-glass iPhone without ports would have better water resistance.
The filing was made on August 12, 2019, with its inventors listed as Christopher Perst and Emery A. Sanford.
Wraparound screen of the future iPhone
The second patent, “Electronic device with wrapped screen”, appears to correspond well to the “Glass case” patent at first glance. Rather than creating a flat screen that sits on top of the rest of the electronics of a mobile device, the filing instead suggests that the screen could have a similar wrap-around property, where it surrounds the electronics enclosed within the interior.
The screen could take the form of a hollow display cover structure, which could be a cylinder or a tube, just like the extruded glass above. The structure could be produced from sapphire or other crystalline or transparent materials, and could also use end caps to hold the electronics inside.
The screen itself would be made of a flexible display layer, which could be an OLED panel or some other technology, lining the inside of the case.
A flexible screen could be slid into an extruded glass tube body.
Since this is, again, an extruded glass tube, the wrap-around screen doesn’t have to take the same shape as a standard smartphone. An “oval, triangular or rectangular cross-sectional shape” or “other hollow shapes” are touted.
With the usual selection of internal smartphone components inside, the overall unit could choose to render the main content area to a designated location on the body, such as a large flat surface, with content potentially capable of surrounding. and wrap around the body. As a tube, it could also be used for a scrolling motion by rotating the body, the device changing the main content area to where it thinks the user is looking and hiding the area where the content changes on the back of the device.
The filing lists its inventors as Scott A. Myers, Derek Wright, and Fletcher R. Rothkopf, and was filed on December 29, 2017.
Apple files numerous patent applications each week, but while the existence of the filings indicates areas of interest to Apple’s research and development teams, they do not guarantee that the concepts will appear in a future product or service.
Apple has previously researched all-glass iPhones and wrap-around displays
The idea of a non-flat screen has been reviewed by Apple on several occasions and has surfaced in previous patent filings.
For example, flexible displays have appeared in foldable smartphone repositories, usually involving a specific point of curvature and how to protect the fragile screen glass from stress cracking.
He also studied wrap-around screens, which would benefit from flexible display panels in the same way as foldable devices. A November 2019 filing mentions how a screen could wrap around internal electronics.
Another from August 2020 took the tubular device route with the wrap-around screen, but added the suggestion that the round shape could help create a seemingly thinner device with a larger display area, while potentially being More suitable for components of different Size.