You Have To See Apple's Futuristic iPhone Idea

Apple's latest patent approved by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office may be a first look at the iPhone of the future — a model far beyond the already rumored iPhone 7. Ambiguously titled "Electronic Device With Wrap Around Display" in the filing, the device, in the accompanying images, looks iPhone-like but with a curved screen.

Why the curve? In the patent, Apple discusses the need to utilize screen space more effectively (namely, to make use of the back and sides of the iPhone) and create "a more efficient mechanism for presenting visual content." And while it's not called an iPhone in the patent, the drawings do include icons on the screen design that are similar to those on current iPhone models, including the calendar, iTunes, the App Store, and address book, as well as a clearly identified speaker and battery.

The device goes beyond the edge-to-edge screen we've already seen on phones such as the Galaxy S7 Edge. It would include a transparent enclosure with a 360-degree screen that can be used for everything from apps to video. This means you could be texting on one side of your phone while watching a YouTube clip on the other. Do we have enough thumbs for this phone?

Apple isn't the first company to express a desire to experiment with a curved form. There have been images of a slap-bracelet-like smartphone from Chinese startup Moxi Group, and Samsung has a way to make phones flexible, too.

However, just because Apple was granted a patent doesn't mean that the idea will come to market anytime soon — or even at all. But it's still fun to imagine a future world where not an inch of screen real estate on our interestingly flask-like iPhone is wasted.

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