Apple has made some significant changes to the way the iPhone looks over the past few years.
While these alterations have been substantial — such as the move from the glass back of the iPhone 4/4S to the all-aluminium design of Apple’s most recent iPhones — the basic form factor has stayed the same.
However, Apple has an idea that would radically change the way you use your iPhone.
The company was recently granted a patent for an iPhone design in which the screen curves all the way around the phone.
Here’s what it looks like:
The patent, which was published on Sept. 29, is a continuation of various patents Apple has filed in the past. It’s not necessarily a new idea — Apple has been filing similar patent applications since 2013. Regardless, it’s still interesting to speculate that the company may still be experimenting with these types of ideas.
In the document, Apple says that a design like this could change the way we use our iPhones. If the screen of your iPhone was extended, you wouldn’t be limited to interacting with the device’s screen only on the front of the phone. Apple notes that other aspects of the device found along the side — such as the mute switch, power, and volume buttons — can’t be used with apps since they’re only programmed to perform one task.
The type of design Apple proposes in its patent would change this. Here’s what the company writes in the patent:
Unfortunately, this popular form factor, leaves the sides and rear surfaces of the device unused or at best configured with buttons and switches with fixed location and functionality. Since many of these buttons and switches have fixed functionality they cannot always be incorporated into third party applications.
Therefore, there exists a need for an improved form factor for portable electronic devices which allows functionality to extend to more than one surface of the device.
That doesn’t mean we should expect to see an iPhone that looks anything like this in the near future. Apple patents different types of technologies and products all the time, and it doesn’t mean it has any plans to bring these concepts to market. Patents just give us an idea of what Apple may be experimenting with.
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