Apple advancing all-glass iPhone with wrap-around display technology

Posted:
in iPhone edited October 2023

Apple's future iPhone may have a wrap-around display, while also sporting an all-glass -- and perhaps port-less -- enclosure for a smooth exterior appearance.

An early render of a round iPhone based on earlier patent filings.
An early render of a round iPhone based on earlier patent filings.



Apple's design choices for the iPhone have always been widely debated by observers, with choices to implement specific styles and features often copied by competitors, such as the infamous notch. If Apple implements ideas outlined in a newly-granted patent, a future iPhone could end up being completely covered with seamless glass with zero penetrations for wired ports, and could even have a wrap-around display.

Apple iPhone with all-glass enclosure



In the patent, simply titled "Glass enclosure," Apple suggests how a handheld computing device could use glass for its casing. While images and discussions depict the old-fashioned click-wheel iPod, the filing also suggests it could be applied to practically any handheld device, like a smartphone.

Apple argues that a design challenge for device producers is that there is usually a need for case structures to involve multiple layers in a sandwich, attached by some sort of fastening mechanism like screws that makes assembly time consuming and cumbersome. There is also the suggestion that it there is a need to make a more aesthetically pleasing enclosure, yet durable.

The glass tube could have sections cut out before electronics are added.
The glass tube could have sections cut out before electronics are added.



Apple's solution entails creating an enclosure out of glass, but unlike iPhones with glass backs and side seams, the intention this time is to create one that doesn't rely on a multi-part enclosure. Instead, Apple wants to produce an enclosure that is one component, a potentially seamless casing.

The glass could be extruded in a tube, allowing for devices with round edges and a tubular body to be made. Depending on the implementation, the glass could have extra glass pieces placed at the top and the bottom of the tube, fully surrounding the electronics inside.

As the glass is extruded, this can allow for different body shapes to be created, including devices with curved edges that aren't flat. While there would be a seam at these cap joints, adhered by a laser bonding system, the main body of the glass would not have a seam going around it.

As it would be both the protection and the external casing, the glass could have varying properties, such as being transparent, translucent, and opaque in different areas. This would save from having to make an opaque section to hide elements from view within the casing.

The manufacturing process flowchart for the glass indicates Apple wants to create the hollow tube, then to cut sections out of the tube to enable specific features to function, such as speaker holes. The edges of the glass would be treated to create chamfered or radius edges, with the surface polished, texturized, protected with extra coatings, before the caps are placed and sealed.

As a bonus, proper material selection would allow for an iPhone enclosure that is totally transparent to radio emissions. This could theoretically increase Wi-Fi and wireless performance, or allow for smaller antennae in the unit.

Furthermore, an all-glass iPhone with no ports would have greater water resistance.

The filing was made on August 12, 2019, with its inventors listed as Christopher Prest and Emery A. Sanford.

Apple files numerous patent applications on a weekly basis, but while the existence of the filings indicate areas of interest for Apple's research and development teams, they don't guarantee the concepts will appear in a future product or service.

Apple has previous research on all-glass iPhones and wrap-around screens



The idea of a non-flat screen has been looked at by Apple quite a few times, and has surfaced in earlier patent filings.

For example, flexible displays have appeared in filings for foldable smartphones, typically involving a specific bend point and how to protect the fragile screen glass from cracking under strain.

It has also looked at wrap-around displays, which would take advantage of flexible display panels in a similar way to foldable devices. One filing from November 2019 mentions how a screen could wrap around the internal electronics.

Another from August 2020 went down the route of tubular devices with the wrap-around display, but added the suggestion the round shape could help make for a seemingly thinner device with a larger display area, as well as potentially being more accommodating to components of varying size.

Read on AppleInsider

patchythepirate
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 22
    That will be interesting for case makers ...
    retrogusto
  • Reply 2 of 22
    Apple researching an all glass iPhone which will double profits in repairs alone. 
    OferPauloSeraawilliamhbaconstang
  • Reply 3 of 22
    ciacia Posts: 260member
    macapfel said:
    That will be interesting for case makers ...
    You bring up an interesting point.  Apple makes huge margins selling its own cases.  If it does make an iPhone similar to what the article describes, it would most likely not need a case, hence cutting off a lucrative profit center.
  • Reply 4 of 22
    melgrossmelgross Posts: 33,542member
    I definitely do NOT want a curved screen. What’s the point to that? We see that with the Samsung’s curved screens that nothing advantageous is gained from it, and instead, it causes problems.
    bonobobcaladanianOfercommentzillawatto_cobra
  • Reply 5 of 22
    This will be known as the Bar of Soap iPhone.
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 6 of 22
    If they can make it levitate in front of my eyes so I don't have to touch it, like EVER, I think it would be a great product.
  • Reply 7 of 22
    Johnny Ives vision was a seamless all glass iphone
    Yet it never came to fruition 
    We’ve read these articles over and over just by a different writer
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 8 of 22
    BeatsBeats Posts: 3,073member
    melgross said:
    I definitely do NOT want a curved screen. What’s the point to that? We see that with the Samsung’s curved screens that nothing advantageous is gained from it, and instead, it causes problems.

    Apple already uses curved displays just not stupid curved like Sammy. Samsung dropped that turd because they read the Apple patent which I believe was used for iPhone 6, Apple Watch and Apple Park. Will have to refresh my memory as this info flew under the radar.
    watto_cobraPauloSeraa
  • Reply 9 of 22
    melgross said:
    I definitely do NOT want a curved screen. What’s the point to that? We see that with the Samsung’s curved screens that nothing advantageous is gained from it, and instead, it causes problems.
    Curved glass and protruding glass simply make the screen easier to break and provide no user benefit. I'd like to see it go away completely.

    watto_cobraPauloSeraaretrogusto
  • Reply 10 of 22
    melgross said:
    I definitely do NOT want a curved screen. What’s the point to that? We see that with the Samsung’s curved screens that nothing advantageous is gained from it, and instead, it causes problems.
    It’s also possible this patent could be amended with a patent continuation to apply to headworn displays.
    edited September 2020
  • Reply 11 of 22
    melgrossmelgross Posts: 33,542member
    Beats said:
    melgross said:
    I definitely do NOT want a curved screen. What’s the point to that? We see that with the Samsung’s curved screens that nothing advantageous is gained from it, and instead, it causes problems.

    Apple already uses curved displays just not stupid curved like Sammy. Samsung dropped that turd because they read the Apple patent which I believe was used for iPhone 6, Apple Watch and Apple Park. Will have to refresh my memory as this info flew under the radar.
    I have never seen an Apple product with a curved display. I had the iPhone 6 and the display was totally flat. The Watch screen is also flat. You are confused by the thick glass edge, which may give the impression that the edge is curved, but it is not.
    muthuk_vanalingamwatto_cobra
  • Reply 12 of 22
    melgrossmelgross Posts: 33,542member

    melgross said:
    I definitely do NOT want a curved screen. What’s the point to that? We see that with the Samsung’s curved screens that nothing advantageous is gained from it, and instead, it causes problems.
    It’s also possible this patent could be amended with a patent continuation to apply to headworn displays.
    That’s always possible. But as it’s pointed our constantly whenever we read about a new Apple patent that looks interesting, not everything patented is used in a product. Many times R&D goes down a blind alley. For major companies. The $10 to 20 thousand it often costs to get a patent is trivial, so they take onc out to protect their R&D investment. My own company had a small bunch of patents, we did use them all, but when you get to the high tens of thousands, and hundreds of thousands, you simp,y can’t use them all. Apple bought scads of patents over the years too.

    I expect Apple to check many things out without using them, or not using them for the type of product they were R&D’d for. Apple gets several thousand patents a year, so I’ve read. How many end up in products?
    edited September 2020 watto_cobra
  • Reply 13 of 22
    eriamjheriamjh Posts: 1,662member
    If the iPhone 12 is a new form factor (square iPad Pro /iPhone 4 edges), then we won’t see a new design until the iPhone 15.   

    Remind me in 3 years.  
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 14 of 22
    Thankfully it's just a patent and not an actual product. Hope it never comes to market.
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 15 of 22
    cia said:
    macapfel said:
    That will be interesting for case makers ...
    You bring up an interesting point.  Apple makes huge margins selling its own cases.  If it does make an iPhone similar to what the article describes, it would most likely not need a case, hence cutting off a lucrative profit center.
    Lol what? An iPhone made entirely out of glass somehow does not need a case?
    Apple can't even make a phone now that survives a waist-high drop. How is all glass even in consideration?

  • Reply 16 of 22

    Beats said:
    melgross said:
    I definitely do NOT want a curved screen. What’s the point to that? We see that with the Samsung’s curved screens that nothing advantageous is gained from it, and instead, it causes problems.

    Apple already uses curved displays just not stupid curved like Sammy. Samsung dropped that turd because they read the Apple patent which I believe was used for iPhone 6, Apple Watch and Apple Park. Will have to refresh my memory as this info flew under the radar.
    That's exactly what happened. Misunderstood and misrepresented rumors about Apple producing a "curved display" for the iPhone 6 spurred Sammy into rushing to market a hideous clone of the rumor, which no one asked for or wanted, and turned out not to be what Apple was doing at all.
  • Reply 17 of 22
    StrangeDaysStrangeDays Posts: 12,920member
    What’s up with recycling these old stories?
    baconstangfastasleepgatorguy
  • Reply 18 of 22
    baconstangbaconstang Posts: 1,114member
    The self-repair folks will just looove that.
  • Reply 19 of 22
    It's just a patent, and nowhere does it says it will be used for a phone.
  • Reply 20 of 22
    fastasleepfastasleep Posts: 6,426member
    Another recycled old patent story, wtf?
    tht
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