Where Is Apple’s Touchscreen Going? New Patent Shows Hints

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Source: U.S. Patent and Trademark Office

Patents granted by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office to Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) just keep pushing rumors that Apple will be developing an iPhone with a flexible screen that wraps around the sides of the phone — at least a little ways. A recently granted patent discovered by AppleInsider shows just a little bit more of what potential there is for an iPhone with a wraparound display.

Just over a year ago, the first detail of a patent describing a potential wraparound display for an Apple device cropped up. In the diagrams, the device had a screen that went clear around the sides and looped over the back as well, covering most of the phone except for the top and bottom. Though that patent came out well before the iPhone 5S, it may have been too soon for Apple to put the design into practice, as flexible screens and tech has a ways to go yet — as can be seen by Samsung (SSNLF.PK) and LG’s “flexible” smartphones that bend just a few degrees. The design, though novel, also seemed a bit impractical, as very few people can reasonably need a phone with a screen they can only see half of at any given time.

This latest patent blends a bit of the novelty of the earlier design with more practicality. Rather than suggesting a screen that wraps all the way around the device, it stops short, only going partway around one side or both. While both sides of the device could have touchscreen functionality, one may be a wraparound extension of the main display, while the other can be standalone screen space added to certain spots.

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