Apple spitballs iPhone with wraparound display

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Every bit of this concept iPhone is covered in wraparound display.
Apple’s own designers dreamed up this iPhone with a completely wraparound display.
Photo: Apple

Apple designed an iPhone that’s all touchscreen. Front, back, top, bottom and sides — every bit of the exposed surface is a wraparound display.

And the description shows engineers put quite a bit of thought into the proposal.

iPhone with an wraparound display

Apple applied for a patent for an “Electronic Device With Glass Enclosure.” But the proposed device is far more radical than that innocuous name implies. Front and back, both sides, and even the top and bottom of the handset is a single, unbroken display.

And Apple proposes an operating system that would take advantage of all that room. “A primary user interface may extend over a front side, one or more peripheral sides, and a back side of the device,” notes the patent filing. “This may allow icons to move across multiple surfaces when swiped, and may even allow icons or other graphical outputs to appear as a ribbon-like user interface that wraps around the device.”

The user interface for the iPhone with a wraparound display would be... odd.
Designers of this iPhone concept imagine the user interface moving to follow your eyes.
Photo: Apple

Obviously, this concept precludes the use of physical buttons. And the SIM card slot would be a design challenge. The patent says nothing about including a Lightning port — the patent proposes wireless charging instead.

If this seems familiar, Concepts iPhone published a video of an all-screen iOS device last year. Also, Apple explored the idea of touchscreens on the sides of an iPhone in the past.

While this patent application will surely thrill some people and horrify others, filing for a patent on a design isn’t a firm indication that Apple intends to actually release an iPhone with a wraparound screen. It regularly patents designs that are never seen again.