Apple has been awarded a patent specifically referencing devices which have ”a display [that] may occupy the entire front face,” the patent’s document says.
Specifically, the patent (which we first spotted on Apple Insider) is for “electronic devices having displays with openings,” behind which electronic components — such as a camera, a speaker, or a microphone — are mounted, forming a window.
This would allow Apple to design a smartphone with a borderless display, a feature rumoured to be part of the re-designed premium “iPhone 8,” potentially named the iPhone 10, expected to launch later this year.
The patent also adds to the rumour that the next-generation iPhone, which leaked manufacturing documents suggest is internally codenamed “Ferrari,” will feature a glass-sandwich design (glass at the front and back of the phone).
The patent says: “For example, the rear of device 10 [shown in the top image] may be formed from a planar housing structure such as a planar glass member.”
It also discusses a new potential feature — that one or more of these display openings “may form a window [circled in the image below] through which a user of the device may view an external object [objected 134],” and that “display pixels in the window region may be used in forming a heads-up display.”
That would mean the user would see a digital image on top of the physical object  when looking through the window, which Apple Insider says: “If implemented into a future iPhone … could be Apple’s first foray into augmented reality [AR] … the system could theoretically go beyond AR and into mixed reality.”
It’s important to note that Apple files and is granted patents regularly and this does not confirm it will implement any of the technology it has patented. The images it uses in its patent applications are merely illustrative.
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