Apple patents a unique approach to a truly 'edge-to-edge' iPhone: tiny display holes

Apple patents a unique approach to a truly 'edge-to-edge' iPhone: tiny display holes
Apple is rumored to launch a surprise OLED iPhone with curved display this year, in addition to the more orthodox iPhone 7s and 7s Plus, or whatever they get named. The selling point of the OLED iPhone is allegedly an edge-to-edge display which would bring the phone's screen-to-body ratio to unseen heights.

So far so good, we even know that Samsung will be the chief supplier of flexible OLED panels for the phone, but what about the "all-screen," "edge-to-edge" part of the story? At the top bezel area of today's phones, we are used to seeing plenty of indispensable components nesting comfortably - the earpiece slit, the front camera, the light and proximity sensors, the notification blinker, and even LED flashes or iris scanners. Where will those go if there is no, or a very minimal top bezel?

Well, the recently announced Xiaomi Mi Mix holds a clue - it fits a 6.4" panel in a body more akin to a 5.7" phone by placing the tiniest selfie snapper that could be found at the bottom, using piezoelectric ceramic acoustic system for phone calls, and replacing the typical infrared proximity sensor with a sonar of sorts. Apple, however, might be going a step further, and instead of changing and rearranging those elements, puts them under the display package, with tiny empty spaces in the display ensuring access to them.

Yep, that is exactly what an Apple patent filing has unearthed recently - microscopic pores in the display packages that are near-invisible to the human eye, and, presumably, aren't going to affect the viewing experience. From there, however, we might be able to access sub-screen speakers, cameras or sensors, but how exactly would that work in practice, remains to be seen. The "holes" are depicted with different shapes and different positions relative to the screen's actual pixels, so they must be really, really small, and unobtrusive. This is a pretty radical approach, requiring an OLED display, as LCD screens need to have uninterrupted backlighting layer underneath the screen. Well, the rumored OLED iPhone fits that bill, so the Apple patent you see below may materialize soon enough.


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54 Comments

1. steodoreben

Posts: 379; Member since: Sep 26, 2013

Now who's copying. Apple fans, including PhoneArena, will say: "Apple's edge-to-edge screen is revolutionary and not a gimmick. I'll rate it 9.8/10. Waiting for Samsung to copy it".

6. LebronJamesFanboy

Posts: 671; Member since: Mar 23, 2013

I'm an Apple fan. I still think curved screens are a pure gimmick, but do look awesome. Note 7 is the sexiest phone I've ever seen, but the curves aren't practical. If it's only "edge-to-edge" like the Mi Mix, this isn't gimmicky at all. Edge to edge is wanted.

39. Klinton

Posts: 1409; Member since: Oct 24, 2016

Edges on Note7 are NOT gimmick. They are smaller than GS7Edge, and the best design for holding and operate large phones. They are mostly design feature for one hand use. But also better for many side gestures, than flat phones.

42. ibend

Posts: 6747; Member since: Sep 30, 2014

and then iPhone7s with curved screen released.. and he'l; think that MiMix is gimmick, while note7 isn't, lol...

44. AlikMalix unregistered

I think mimix is so much better than edges in Samsung s6, s7, note7. I'd rather have a flat full screen than curved edges.

20. airoid

Posts: 132; Member since: Dec 13, 2016

Nowadays, Apple is following the Chinese

31. trojan_horse

Posts: 5868; Member since: May 06, 2016

And the Chinese OEMs follow Samsung.

45. AlikMalix unregistered

And Samsung follows Apple.

49. trojan_horse

Posts: 5868; Member since: May 06, 2016

And Apple follows Samsung.

3. aegislash

Posts: 1528; Member since: Jan 27, 2015

Since this is an Apple article, why not just say that Xiaomi fit a 6.4 inch display in a body nearly identical in size to the iPhone 7 Plus?

7. LebronJamesFanboy

Posts: 671; Member since: Mar 23, 2013

Because the Mi Mix still has a larger footprint:https://i.ytimg.com/vi/pZ7TKtwFe3I/hqdefault.jpg

16. marorun

Posts: 5029; Member since: Mar 30, 2015

The difference is minimal but screen size difference is major!

29. aegislash

Posts: 1528; Member since: Jan 27, 2015

I said they were nearly identical, not the same size.

37. Klinton

Posts: 1409; Member since: Oct 24, 2016

Well but it's closer in size to iPhone7 Plus(5.5''), than to Note7 or Note 5 (5.7'') which have smaller footprint than iPhone7 Plus. Right? So his remark is valid. The article mention 5.7'' phones though. Why 'Since this is an Apple article, why not just say that Xiaomi fit a 6.4 inch display in a body nearly identical in size to the iPhone 7 Plus?'

4. ctdog4748

Posts: 797; Member since: Mar 05, 2016

But, but, but....Apple doesn't design anything! Apple doesn't engineer anything! All Apple will do is call Samsung and say "bruh we need sum knew faster chipz and sum dem OLED panels" and Samsung will say hold on a sec, and see what's available in the parts warehouse. This patent makes no sense. No Apple patent makes any sense, since everything part in Apples products is "off-the-rack".

5. maple_mak

Posts: 953; Member since: Dec 18, 2013

Phil always said: "Innovation." ?

8. Plasticsh1t

Posts: 3109; Member since: Sep 01, 2014

And #courage

36. nctx77

Posts: 2540; Member since: Sep 03, 2013

Samsung now has courage as the S8 is rumored to not have a headphone jack....

40. tedkord

Posts: 17456; Member since: Jun 17, 2009

Rumored.

9. sissy246

Posts: 7129; Member since: Mar 04, 2015

Dumb post of the day so far.

21. tedkord

Posts: 17456; Member since: Jun 17, 2009

He thinks he's clever.

10. Dr.Phil

Posts: 2482; Member since: Feb 14, 2011

While you are correct in saying Apple will use Samsung displays and no one should claim Apple is being innovative in doing so, Apple does indeed engineer their own chipsets. The A10 is an Apple designed product, Samsung is the one that is contracted to manufacture it.

24. ctdog4748

Posts: 797; Member since: Mar 05, 2016

Apple didn't design the A10, all they did is ask Samsung for a chipset and then Samsung modified the existing ARM architecture to make Apple think they were getting something special.

26. mikehunta727 unregistered

Utterly wrong. Apple designed the A10 all by themselves with their team of over a 1,000 people working on the SoC, Apple has been even making their own GPU drivers for the past few years. A10 is designed by Apple, manufactured by TSMC. Samsung has nothing at all to do with the A10, Apple has been designing their own SoCs based on modifying the existing ARM-v8 architecture The A10 is indeed special and still is the fastest SoC in a smartphone currently till April and beyond Apple's SoC team is ahead of Samsung and others at this time. 835 will only see a 25% GPU bump in perf, the 8XT powerVR series GPU that is going in the next iPhone is going to be a much bigger jump in both perf and power effiency vs the 530 in the 821 and the GPU in the 835

32. trojan_horse

Posts: 5868; Member since: May 06, 2016

Post #24 was sarcasm... man.

33. ctdog4748

Posts: 797; Member since: Mar 05, 2016

No I have seen the light. Nothing is new anymore, everything simply exists. All that can be done in simple modifications. There is no new technology, and science has reached the pinnacle of discovery and can go no further. Especially semiconductor physics. Nothing new is left for mankind.

35. mikehunta727 unregistered

couldn't really tell tbh but yeah he trolled me lol

38. ctdog4748

Posts: 797; Member since: Mar 05, 2016

Not trolling but helping you see the light. Nothing is invented anymore, it's all simply modifications. All OLED and AMOLED panels are nothing but modifications to work done by Kodak in the 1980's, so how anyone can think they can patent a mere modification is mind boggling.

41. mikehunta727 unregistered

You need to help yourself before you attempt to help anyone lol

27. tedkord

Posts: 17456; Member since: Jun 17, 2009

That's not true. It's an Apple design from the ground up, and bears no relation to any ARM processor ever. Every single part of it is unique, and nothing in it is in any other CPU in the entire universe. If doesn't even use ARM commands, it's just so advanced that it out translates pure thought that any computer today or in the future will understand.

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