Apple has been awarded a patent that hints at big changes coming to the iPhone lineup in the hopefully-near future, possibly starting with the iPhone 8 (opens in new tab).
The ideas presented look to, at the very least, culminate in a bezel-free, or “full face” display that sees the top and bottom bezel frame nixed entirely. Even prominent hardware components, such as the TouchID and front-facing camera, will be hidden under a pixel-filled pane of glass.
“How do you this stuff in plain sight?”, you might be asking. The patent details that Apple intends utilize small openings (or large, in the case of the fingerprint sensor) within the screen panel to fit in the hardware, either to give visual access to the user or to allow for unhindered signal transmission.
Obviously, using these openings to tuck components out of sight will lead to a cleaner design overall – something the Xiaomi Mi Mix (opens in new tab) has attempted with the hidden, vibration-based piezoelectric speaker in lieu of using an actual speaker.
But wait, thARs more
Building on the idea of using openings to stow away must-have features, Apple’s patent also points to grouping these holes into a larger window of sorts that can be used to see into the real world, complete with a heads-up display inside.
The use cases range from the predictable, a camera viewfinder, which is clearly stated in the patent, to potential augmented reality functions. Since Apple claims to be able to render images within the viewing window, the possibilities for an AR-filled future are endless.
Some of the details within Apple’s seemingly ambitious patent aren’t totally unheard of. For example, Synaptics detailed its FS9100 fingerprint sensor at the tail end of 2016 that is able to gather biometric readings hidden under 1mm of glass. Though, having it put to use in an Apple device would surely popularize the tech moving forward.
But, about that heads-up display window. In conjunction with the bezel-free design, it’s a truly intriguing idea that could turn the smartphone world on its head if Apple sticks the landing.
What better way to celebrate the iPhone’s decade-old existence with a complete overhaul?