Apple receives a patent for flexible side-wall displays that will act as virtual buttons

Apple receives a patent for flexible side-wall displays that will act as virtual buttons
Apart from the circulating rumors that Apple might use a force touch display in the next iPhone generation, fueled by the announcement of the new MacBook's touchpad, there seem to be a few new speculations regarding new technologies coming in the iPhone 6/6 Plus successor(s). 

If we judge by one of the new patents that Apple has been granted by the USPTO (originally filed back in 2013), the company could be working on a mobile device equipped with sidewall displays that dynamically change their function according to what the user is currently doing.

The patent description claims that these displays might "include one or more flexible layers and may be mounted under a transparent display cover layer such as a layer of clear glass or plastic". Below that clear layer, Apple intends to put another touch-sensitive one that will register user input, whereas the display itself will provide the user with visual clue on what's the button's current function, be it a camera shutter or an in-game controller.

It's also said that the patented display tech might take a planar shape, which will allow it to cover the "front, rear, and sidewall surfaces for the device". It is hinted that this tech might eventually entirely substitute hardware buttons. 

We've previously heard that Microsoft might have intended to use a somewhat similar tech in the phone that never was, the mysterious Mclaren, while Samsung is differentiate itself with the Galaxy Note Edge and S6 edge


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62 Comments

47. arch_angel

Posts: 1651; Member since: Feb 20, 2015

it would be hard to make a good protective case with with a display going around the edges of the phone. and it seems like this tech would be hard to implement into the current iphone design as well. could be cool tho

46. johnbftl

Posts: 283; Member since: Jun 09, 2012

So...watch Samsung's CES keynote in January of 2013, then run to a doodle pad to sketch something up that looks like it and call it your own. Way to go Apple! It's why no one has any faith in the U.S. Patent system anymore. To quote their founder: “Good artists copy, great artists steal." To quote him again, "I'm going to destroy Android, because it's a stolen product. I'm willing to go thermonuclear war on this." Such eloquence. Such class.

49. JumpinJackROMFlash

Posts: 464; Member since: Dec 10, 2014

Yeah, this is really low even for Apple. It's obvious they stole the idea and wanted to patent it after the fact.

41. alexvoda

Posts: 39; Member since: Jan 11, 2013

Notion Ink revealed the Adam II in May 2013. It also had an edge display. I think this can safely be called prior art. The only thing new here is that it is also a touch screen . P.S.: The Samsung Galaxy ... Edge devices are different. The display curves and extends onto the edge side. Here there are two separate displays.

44. j2001m

Posts: 3061; Member since: Apr 28, 2014

It means nothing as the note 4 edge shows buttons like in the cam app and so on as per above, this is direct copy of samsung came up with in 2012 and start of 2013 when they 1st shoes off the note edge beta

39. hortizano

Posts: 294; Member since: May 22, 2013

So they have a patent of an idea? Don't you need to present a working thing or model to patent it? Geez, I have a ton of ideas!!! Let me run to the Patent Office!!!

38. dirtydirty00

Posts: 428; Member since: Jan 21, 2011

talk about hitting a button by accident... sheesh..

34. JohnK

Posts: 117; Member since: Mar 03, 2015

Seriously Apple ? Someone seems to have pulled the strings stronger after those S6's annoucement.

32. TBomb

Posts: 1769; Member since: Dec 28, 2012

Hey I said this was an idea back at the S6 Edge leak a couple months back

27. bendgate unregistered

Make a law for granting patents only after presenting a working model.

29. RoboticEngi

Posts: 1251; Member since: Dec 03, 2014

Then apple would have nothing to sue with :D

31. chaosnightmare

Posts: 182; Member since: May 20, 2010

I was thinking the same, but hey! Perhaps this patent can be implemented in future updates for the already bended iphones out there.

26. Jamoga

Posts: 187; Member since: Dec 17, 2014

s6 edges approach is best ive seen so far, intially i hated note 4 egde, but s6 edges both curves has given a different perspective. side displays, this i dont like, id rather pick up my phone and see things than this.

22. TAMARETTE

Posts: 182; Member since: Jun 15, 2014

I can just see Jobs standing on stage in the afterlife now screaming "And we got a PATENT for it!"

19. meanestgenius

Posts: 23076; Member since: May 28, 2014

So Apple is granted a patent, that there is prior artwork for, mind you, and for what? Why should Apple even bother to innovate when they can just get a patent for it and litigate?

17. GeorgeDao123

Posts: 432; Member since: Aug 20, 2013

Samsung fans may laugh at Apple fans.

15. danceosmsiles

Posts: 19; Member since: Feb 07, 2015

apple thief is back .. and they call innovation .. but samsung has been showing this on youm displays since long ...... where are apple slaves .....innovation of apple lol..

13. derivativex

Posts: 176; Member since: Jul 15, 2014

oh boy we all know where this is going lol

11. wando77

Posts: 1172; Member since: Aug 23, 2012

Attention to detail.......jobs...... lol. Go back and look how many basic features the original iphone was lacking and then see each new phone add features that even nokia had in its phones years before. Attention to detail..... don't make me laugh

12. AlikMalix unregistered

I think you're confusing "attention to detail" with "throw everything against the wall and see what sticks"... I'm not talking about features, dude, I'm talking about how things are implemented. Sorry you mis-understood my point..

14. wando77

Posts: 1172; Member since: Aug 23, 2012

Maybe if he spent more time implementing things like bluetooth, 3g, or a flash instead of paying attention to detail the iphone would have been half decent. Please tell me how Steve Jobs was a god at what he did? All Jobs and Apple have ever been good at is making morons think they NEED 3 year old technology.

18. AlikMalix unregistered

Wondo, You're doing it again... dont insinuate that I worship Jobs or Apple - I resent that s**t from you Android Chihuahuas... I buy iPhone specifically because of what they omit instead of what they add.. I never find myself needing a Widget or split screen in any situation or want for more specs or what ever you worship on Android. I try android everytime I upgrade and I'm not impressed like I am with DETAIL in everything that's included on iPhones... You want Features, Gimmicks, Digits, Widgits, Buttons, Screens, Megapixels, and Resolutions - buy anything you like - more power to you... but I respect the DETAIL that goes into how it looks when I flip a page on iBooks, or how the page naturally bounces at the bottom, or how Siri responds always differently, how my Devices and Apps all talk to each other outside its own self, How everything flips, zooms, zaps naturally as if each animation was in fact a real object... I have a buddy that switched from iPhone to Samsung (android) because he couldn't find the back button using the iPhone for a few days... He was shocked that the way iOS users navigate is by swiping back and forth with natural gestures, instead of pushing "back" buttons. He still thinks that a lack of back button is a missing feature - where I actually appreciate the "gesture" (pun intended). To each his own.. You chase specs and what manufacturer puts into your phone, I chase experience and what I can get out if... I like tech, just like you do, but I like it when it evolves into a natural state - not just stay a machine. We're at an early stage of real AI and I think Apple is in forefront of that. I can insult you and say you're blinded by your worship specs and gimmicks, but I understand that beauty is in the eye of the beholder. Do not bring religion into a tech forum..? I can reverse this notion on Android Spec Junkies as an example above...

20. TAMARETTE

Posts: 182; Member since: Jun 15, 2014

AlikMalix "I buy iPhone specifically because of what they omit instead of what they add." You could have stopped there, dude. Go play with your iPhone toy that "zips zaps and zooms", and consign UFS 2.0, true multi-tasking and 14nm finfet to the realm of "Gimmicks". You are the very essence of an iSheep whether you "worship" Jobs or not.

21. maherk

Posts: 7096; Member since: Feb 10, 2012

Says the iSheep that keeps on jumping from article to another bashing Android and praising and defending Apple.

23. AlikMalix unregistered

I give props to Android or Google where it's due... I do not bash Android, I do step in when posts are just unnecessary based on what I choose... I like iOS - why does it upset so many of you? Link to one post of mine when I degrade any member for using Android.. I explain what I mean when I say why I like iOS implementation better than Android. I have liked and agreed with many posts from those that Bashed Apple including your posts, maherk. I stay mostly on Apple articles as Android things rearly interest me unless I see Android finally adding things that iOS/Apple had out of curiosity how it's implemented.. But the fact that all of you calling me an iSheep and some Worship of some device is what PISSES ME OFF... Why can't a person appreciate a design of OS or HD without being called a SHEEP? You dont care for some of these things - why are you attacking me if I do. Instead of going straight for the iSheep calling, why dont you explain what is SO f**kEN WRONG WITH WHAT I SAID??? Yes TAMARETTE, I appreciate that my iPhone has no BLOAT, or heavy Launcher like Touch Wiz. I appreciate that they let me add all the functions of Android with Apps instead of cluttering the UI... I like that I can control aspects of my OS that Android doesn't let you. You guys believe this one thing, that if iPhone doesnt do it the old way than it doesnt do anything at all... I find multitasking more of a negative than positive as it allows apps to continue running in background unless you manually kill it.. iOS approaches that differently but suspending the background task unless you ask it not to, allowing you to lock your phone worry free at any moment... Yes there are trade offs for both ways, you prefer Android way, I prefer iOS way - WHY DA f**k DOES IT UPSET YOU THAT I PREFER A DIFFERENT APPROACH???? What does "true" multitasking give you that you're so hung up on it? ANd 14nm is not a Gimmick - but a heart sensor built in when you can just use an app and a camera for the SAME THING is a GIMMICK... What else do you want me to say... "Apple sucks, wooo... I prefer it over Android, but must not say that - they will call you an iSheep, wooo.." I made a whole paragraph in post #18 detailing what I like about iOS and got called an iSheep for it... Awesome...

25. ankitp

Posts: 138; Member since: Feb 19, 2013

ya this maherk guy is disgusting to be in each article hating apple and praising samsung. i really getting annoyed these days ,is he even literate??

37. maherk

Posts: 7096; Member since: Feb 10, 2012

Oh look, i have a new stalker. Get a life you pathetic loser

51. ankitp

Posts: 138; Member since: Feb 19, 2013

you're a loser dumbAss not me ...get a life dude there is world outside PA articles and samsung

52. maherk

Posts: 7096; Member since: Feb 10, 2012

Practice what you preach for you fool

30. Macready

Posts: 1832; Member since: Dec 08, 2014

Your post needs more capitals, more words and more paragraphs to get the point across. Your jabs at Android and Samsung in particular, plus your defensive posts regarding anything Apple, are well documented. A few less biased additions aren't going to change that. Trying to come across as "balanced" now, is like Fox news pretending to be neutral, because they covered the weather forecast without bias.

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