APPLE has invented a smartphone screen that could make its next iPhone look completely different.
The company has created rough designs for a futuristic iPhone that has a secret camera hidden beneath the screen.
All smartphone makers are struggling with one thing: filling your phone with more screen.
Apple mostly managed the job with last year’s iPhone X, but was forced to include a small “notch” cut-out to house the selfie camera.
Samsung has even taken to developing a foldable smartphone in a bid to squeeze more screen onto your mobile.
Now an Apple patent reveals one possible method of boosting screen space on your smartphones.
The patent, first spotted by Let’s Go Digital, was published in the US this month, and describes an “integrated camera window” in the display.
That’s a fancy way of describing a hole in the display, which would be used to house a camera lens.
The camera would likely be designed in a way that photographs could be taken through the screen without distorting the photo you’re snapping.
Details on exactly how this would be achieved are light, and would probably require another patent to pin down.
But it’s proof that Apple has at least considered embedding cameras underneath smartphone displays.
By doing so, it would be possible to fill the entire front of a smartphone with screen.
Apple didn’t manage to achieve the feat with the iPhone XR, iPhone XS or iPhone XS Max – this year’s trio of smartphones.
But there’s hope that in 2019 or 2020, Apple will find a way to do it.
Rival smartphone makers are hard at work on similar technologies in the race for all-screen handsets.
For instance, the OnePlus 6T and Huawei Mate 20 Pro both recently launched with in-screen fingerprint scanners.
This means users can simply rest their fingertip on the display to unlock their handsets.
Previously, fingerprint scanners required bulky buttons or sensors – which is why Touch ID has been scrapped from newer iPhone models.
Apple instead opted for Face ID facial recognition to unlock devices, but this also requires physical sensors.
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In any case, it’s possible that Apple may never adopt the technology described in this patent.
Tech companies often create patents as a way of simply parking ideas, in case they want to use them in future.
But they also use patents to block rivals from making similar technologies.
Alternatively, Apple may decide to let another tech company use its patented design – but charge them a licensing fee for the luxury.
What would you like to see from a future iPhone? Let us know in the comments!
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