Apple is working on an all-glass smartphone, patent suggests

Apple is working on an all-glass smartphone, patent suggests

11/22/2021

The iPhone of the future? Apple is working on an ALL-GLASS smartphone with a continuous display across the front, back and sides, patent suggests

  • Apple registers a new patent for an ‘all-glass’ device with the US government 
  • Patent shows a device with displays on both its front and back, as well as edges 
  • Fitting the back of an iPhone with a glass display could more than double the display size without significantly changing the iPhone’s size or shape 

Apple is working on an iPhone that has a glass display going all the way around, a new patent suggests. 

Dubbed ‘a single slab of glass’, the patent shows a device with displays on both its front and back, as well as touchscreen buttons on its curved glass edges. 

Fitting the back of an iPhone with a 360-degree glass display could potentially more than double the display size, without changing the shape or size of the device. 

Users of the device could potentially have two different displays on the front and back, or alternatively keep one display facing them if they turned it in their hand.   

The patent suggests Apple is working on a device with displays on both its front and back, as well as touchscreen buttons on its curved glass edges. Pictured is an all-glass iPhone concept images, created by ConceptsiPhone

Images published by the US Patent and Trademark Office show the device that may be in development at Apple. The device would appear ‘visually and tactilely seamless’, Apple says, so that the entire phone looks like it’s formed from a single piece of glass

AN ALL-GLASS iPHONE 

Currently, the back of smartphones aren’t put to good use. They’re mostly used to house a few components like cameras and fingerprint sensors that don’t take up much space. 

Fitting the back of an iPhone with a glass display could potentially double the display size, without changing the shape or size of the device. 

Users of the device could potentially have two different displays on the front and back, or alternatively keep one display facing them if they turned it 360 degrees in their hand. 

The new patent, granted by the US Patent and Trademark Office and listed on November 16, was first noticed by  Patently Apple. All-glass sides could also be used for a future Apple Watch and Mac Pro tower.

MailOnline has contacted Apple for comment.  

‘Conventionally, glass has been used in such devices to provide a transparent window over a touchscreen on a front of the device,’ the patent reads. 

‘Described herein, however, are electronic devices with enclosures that use glass to define multiple sides of the enclosure.

‘For example, an enclosure that takes the general form of a rectangular prism may include a glass front, a glass back, and one or more glass sides.’ 

The device would appear ‘visually and tactilely seamless’, Apple says, so that the entire phone looks like it’s formed from a single piece of glass.

In fact, it would more likely be formed from multiple separate pieces attached together, using techniques that reduce the number and visibility of seams between different glass components. 

The upcoming iPhone may have ‘no dedicated or visually distinguishable “front” or “top”, Apple adds. 

Apple has reportedly hired a former Tesla software expert – a strong indicator that work is still progressing on its long-awaited Apple Car.

Christopher Moore was hired after leaving Tesla following a disagreement with Elon Musk, Bloomberg says. 

Moore is reporting to Stuart Bowers, another former Tesla executive, the report says, citing insiders ‘with knowledge of the matter’. 

Little is known about Apple’s self-driving car project, which is codenamed Project Titan, although it could hit the market by 2024. 

Read more: Apple hires Tesla expert for its self-driving car project 

The phone would have six displays, the patent says – one for ‘each side of a six-sided transparent enclosure’. 

While this sounds like a glass box, shape-wise the upcoming device would still very much resemble a modern smartphone. 

Two of these six sides would be the front and back, while the remaining four would be the four edges of the phone. 

However, these edges would have glass displays too, providing extra width or even showing a vertical stack of apps that a user has open. 

One of the edges would still be needed to house the crucial changing port, speakers and other components. 

Illustrations from the patent also suggest the edges would be curved, as last seen with the iPhone 11 in 2019. 

Last year’s iPhone 12 and 2021’s iPhone 13 are notable for their flat edges, unlike the curved edges of previous iPhone models.

British product designed Jony Ive, who worked for Apple from 1992 to 2019, previously spoke about the concept of an all-glass iPhone, dubbed ‘a single slab of glass’, according to reports going back to 2016. 

Ive was responsible for pioneering many of the company’s most iconic products, including the iPod, iPhone and iPad.  

Business Insider previously said that ‘big pieces of glass are somewhat of an obsession’ for Ive, who also helped design the Apple’s headquarters in Cupertino, California.

Former Apple chief design officer Jony Ive (left) and Apple CEO Tim Cook inspect the iPhone XR during an Apple event at the Steve Jobs Theatre in September 2018. Ive may have sparked Apple’s work on an all-glass iPhone 

Apple HQ is notable for enormous curved glass walls – some of the largest pieces of curved glass in the world, Ive previously said. Ive also designed the translucent case for the hugely successful iMac G3, released in 1998. 

Despite his departure to set up his own design company, work on an all-glass smartphone appears to still be making progress, the new patent suggests.   

According to a report last year, Ive had a hand in delaying Apple’s augmented reality (AR) glasses, which are still yet to hit the market. 

The AR headset was originally envisioned as dependent on an external device resembling a small Mac that handled most of its processing power and wirelessly broadcast the information to the headset. 

While that would have made the headset much more powerful, Ive reportedly disliked the idea of making a headset that was contingent on separate hardware. 

APPLE MAY BE CREATING AN IPAD THE SIZE OF A CAR WHEEL WITH A SCREEN UP TO 16 INCHES

Apple is considering releasing an iPad the size of a car wheel – measuring up to a whopping 16 inches across, according to a recent report. 

The tech giant has ‘engineers and designers exploring larger iPads’, said Mark Gurman, a trusted Apple tipster and journalist for Bloomberg.

A screen up to 16 inches big could be available in ‘a couple of years’, Gurman said in a newsletter in June, but not likely in 2022. 

Apple iPads are about to get bigger, if a report is to be believed – blurring the lines between tablet and laptop

For reference, screen sizes on the new fifth-generation iPad Pro models – unveiled in April 2021 – measure 11-inch and 12.9-inch.  

Read more: Apple is creating an iPad the size of a car wheel, report says

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