Apple looks at oddly shaped phones, computers with full wrap-around display

By today’s standards, Apple’s invention would make for a funny-looking iPhone, and one that would be somewhat challenging to pocket. But there are obvious benefits to a semi-cylindrical device with a wraparound display.

The Cupertino tech giant has filed a patent application, released by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office on Thursday, for devices — including phones, computers and media players — shaped far differently from current models.

“Conventional display configurations … can be unnecessarily limiting,” the application said.

The devices would be wrapped completely in a transparent casing, with a display surface beneath it that would show through.

Users could control device functions via a touch sensor, and by rotating or tilting the device.

The patent application envisions several ways to present information on the screen. A user could hold the device and rotate it to scroll up or down through content, with scrolling tied to the rate of rotation.

“Content can be displayed in synchronization with the rotation of the electronic device about the longitudinal axis so that the displayed content remains at a fixed location relative to a user,” the application said.

Or content could circulate around the display continuously, “as with a scrolling stock ticker.” Or game content could be displayed, continuously updated according to the user’s rotation of the device, with the user controlling some game functions by tilting and rotating the device.

And there’s one more thing, that some critics of the new iPhone 7 might appreciate: the drawings show a headphone jack.

Of course, not all inventions see the light of day, so there’s no guarantee Apple will go ahead with this technology.

Photo: Drawing from Apple patent application for an “Electronic Device with Wrapped Display” (image from U.S. Patent and Trademark Office)


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