AppleInsider points us to a recently published U.S. patent application from Apple which suggests that Apple may at some point in the future consider a wrap-around OLED display for the iPhone. The patent covers an item called an “electronic device with a wrapped display” and explains how a flexible OLED display “or other flexible display structure may be wrapped around” a device.
While the images contained in the patent application don’t quite resemble an iPhone, or any smartphone for that matter, the patent does make a point of noting that a wrap-around display could be used on an electronic device that “may have a touch sensor, accelerometer, gyroscope, and other sensors for gathering input…”
The patent description adds:
The device may display content that moves or that remains at a fixed location on the surface of the flexible display layer. For example, the electronic device may display pages of content on the display layer in response to tilt events or other motions of the device. The electronic device may also adjust scrolling activity and other on-screen content motions based on detected device rotation and other measured movement of the device. If desired, content can be displayed in synchronization with the rotation of the electronic device about the longitudinal axis so that the displayed content remains at a fixed location relative to a user. Content may be simultaneously displayed at a fixed location on the surface of the display. In response to detection of a vertical device orientation in which the longitudinal axis is vertical, the device may automatically scroll content on the display around the longitudinal axis.
As for Apple’s interest OLED displays, it’s worth noting that we’ve seen a few rumors suggesting that future iPhones will incorporate OLED displays, perhaps by the time Apple rolls out the iPhone 8 in 2018. Indeed, recent reports have relayed that both LG and Samsung are close to finalizing contracts to supply OLED displays to Apple. While OLED displays certainly have their advantages (thinner displays, more vibrant colors), they’re not without their drawbacks, namely color saturation issues over time. Still, Apple is reportedly working with manufacturers to address this particular concern. What’s more you might recall a relatively recent report from Bloomberg which detailed a secretive Apple research lab in Taiwan staffed with scientists and engineers working towards creating more advanced displays for mobile devices.
As for a wrap-around iPhone? Well, don’t expect to see such a device anytime soon. Nonetheless, Apple patent filings can sometimes give us an indication of future technologies and products Apple is considering.