Apple Receives Patent For An iPhone With A Sidewall Touch Display A recent patent document shows that in this past November, Apple has obtained the patent for iPhones with sidewall touch displays. First spotted by Patently Apple, the tech would allow one to add a display on the side of the device to present content and controls,
Essentially, a flexible display is installed on the side of the phone. Virtual buttons can be located on the side of the device to replace physical buttons. Apps like Camera, Voice Memos, etc. can be invoked by pressing on the buttons. This piece of technology similar to the Curved displays found on the Samsung Galaxy smartphone series, well, except it’s not really on the side as the screen is curved.
In the abstract, it describes that the edged screen can display virtual switches and other functions, virtual buttons may also include components that are necessary for providing feedback to a user when virtual buttons are activated.
Electronic devices may be provided that contain flexible displays that are bent to form displays on multiple surfaces of the devices. Bent flexible displays may be bent to form front side displays and edge displays. Edge displays may be separated from front side displays or from other edge displays using patterned housing members, printed or painted masks, or by selectively activating and inactivating display pixels associated with the flexible display. Edge displays may alternately function as virtual buttons, virtual switches, or informational displays that are supplemental to front side displays. Virtual buttons may include transparent button members, lenses, haptic feedback components, audio feedback components, or other components for providing feedback to a user when virtual buttons are activated.
Apple applied for this patent in the second quarter of 2019. Of course, it may not become a reality, but it also exhibited that Apple does have such considerations.