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

1. Neros

Posts: 1016; Member since: Dec 19, 2014

This is so pointless. Another stealthy attack at sammy.

24. ankitp

Posts: 138; Member since: Feb 19, 2013

this is actually great ,i would rather prefer mini side displays then wrap up displays like samsung..if it used for like scrolling the contents and many other future possibilities ..and we shouldnot have to turn phone upside down like samsung to get glowing notification displays

35. Diego!

Posts: 863; Member since: Jun 15, 2009

If they go that way, it would be very difficult to hold the phone. I remember when Steve Jobs taught us how to hold an iPhone... xD http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/3/3b/Medvedev_and_Steve_Jobs.jpg

57. techperson211

Posts: 1280; Member since: Feb 27, 2014

Another day another patent for apple. Not surprise at all considering uspto will just approved any patent that apple will throw at them. This patent law should be global not just one country.

42. bambamboogy02

Posts: 834; Member since: Jun 23, 2012

Hey, so you prefer having a beeper style screen instead of one that runs all the way along the edge?

43. gersont1000

Posts: 473; Member since: Mar 13, 2012

I hate Apple but this sound awesome, especially if the display is mated with the Force Touch so that you only activate the virtual buttons when you press harder so that you can hold the phone normally.

53. mmmanuuu

Posts: 403; Member since: Nov 05, 2013

Apple innovating something which sammy already have.

56. engineer-1701d unregistered

Know that's a pointless gimmick

2. tacarat

Posts: 854; Member since: Apr 22, 2013

-_- and Samsung copied it last year... I do hope the USPO denies this.

59. steodoreben

Posts: 379; Member since: Sep 26, 2013

PA is so defensive. I bet Samsung's R&D started 2012 and YUOM was announced by 2013. Details:http://www.oled-info.com/samsung-youm https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mLMWXBv5rY4

3. bugsbunny00

Posts: 2262; Member since: Jun 07, 2013

try harder apple,..

4. kryme

Posts: 468; Member since: Oct 24, 2013

its this on the note edge... and does apple even have a flexible display of their own... or they just dont want companies to use their own display the way they want..... smh

6. kamejoko

Posts: 248; Member since: Nov 10, 2011

copy function from note edge

7. Kruze

Posts: 1285; Member since: Dec 30, 2014

Patent, and then don't use it. Typical Apple.

8. WackJobs

Posts: 30; Member since: Mar 04, 2015

USPTO should require at least one working model to win a patent from them.

9. maherk

Posts: 6749; Member since: Feb 10, 2012

Man, Samsung are pathetic, copying this into the Note Edge and call it innovative! How dare you Samsung.

28. seven7dust unregistered

Nice one but you do realize that it's getting old , not every Apple fan thinks that the S6 is a copied from the iPhone, it's a very original design , even though my iPhone 4 had glass first , I have to say samsung has taken it to the next level. props to samsung.

36. Diego!

Posts: 863; Member since: Jun 15, 2009

I think maherk is being ironic...

40. Finalflash

Posts: 4063; Member since: Jul 23, 2013

I believe the word is sarcastic.

58. techperson211

Posts: 1280; Member since: Feb 27, 2014

He didn't see what maherk did.

60. steodoreben

Posts: 379; Member since: Sep 26, 2013

@maherk Samsung conceptualized their Note Edge and S6 Edge with their YOUM flexible display which dates back 2012 (R&D) - 2013 (CES). https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mLMWXBv5rY4

10. AlikMalix unregistered

Given the Force Touch already rolling out, this only now makes sense... Holding a phone with touch screen all around will no doubt involve accidental presses, maybe Force Touch can be calibrated to actually ignore normal "median" hold and only execute when certain area senses stronger push - I wonder if Apple is still capable of such attention to detail without Jobs...

11. wando77

Posts: 1167; 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: 1167; 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: 6749; 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??

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