Has Apple beaten Samsung to the punch with patent filing for smartphone with wrap-around display?

Back at CES, Samsung showcased their YOUM flexible AMOLED display technology. One concept they showed off featured a Note-like smartphone with a display that wrapped around to the edges of the device. Of their flexible phone prototypes, it appeared to the most world-ready. Now a patent filing from Apple has surfaced showcasing a device of similar construction. Should Samsung’s legal team already be worried?

Apple’s device is slightly different than the one Samsung showcased. Where in the case of their YOUM prototype, the curved edge of the display provided a bit more screen real estate that could be used for shortcuts or perhaps a notification ticker, but Apple’s proposal takes things a step further. Their all-glass iPhone concept would have a screen that wrapped 360 degrees around the phone.

The proposed device could also use sensors such as the front facing camera to smartly determine where the viewer is looking, allowing other unused areas of the screen to be turned off, conserving battery. Apple details several possible designs, all of which are pretty unfeasible given current technology, while also discussing the possibility of docking several iPhones together end to end or using mountable accessories such as an improved camera. They even talk of stacked displays behind the curved glass creating a 3D effect.

Don’t expect this design to feature in the next iteration of the iPhone. If Apple plans to pursue this line of thought, it’s something for a bit further down the road. Honestly, the concept seems a bit too zany for the simple aesthetic of Apple. It is more likely that this is just another bit of patent ammunition as Samsung gears up for the release of their first device to feature flexible AMOLED technology.

[via Engadget]

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  • Walter Partlo

    If Samsung has already publicly disclosed it, an Apple patent demonstrating the same element of the invention would be invalid. At least with that element.

    • ScandaLeX

      I think every patent related to this Samsung has already taken care of. Apple is no longer the threat they would like the rest of the world to believe they are.

      • Toss3

        Think Apple already applied for a flexible display patent in 2011. This might just be Apple’s way of securing future supplies from Samsung; if Samsung supplies them with the displays, they in turn get to use Apple’s patents. Not sure if Samsung are the only ones working on flexible displays, but they at least seem to be furthest along, so this just might keep Samsung from getting a monopoly.

        • paleh0rse

          “if Samsung supplies them with the displays, they in turn get to use Apple’s patents.”

          LOL!! If only that were true…

      • InspectorEngadget87

        Samsung showed off this display at this pass CES, this patent was applied for in 2011. Chances are though that Samsung was shopping around the display to numerous companies and Apple just put in a patent to a design to match the iPhone.

        • master94

          Doesn’t matter. Nokia showed of its flexible glass in 2009. Apple’s patent in invalid due to prior art

          • InspectorEngadget87

            If your going by art then Apple beat Nokia. Look at the apple prototypes that came to light during the Samsung case that showed curved displays. The reasons they weren’t brought to market at the time was the price of manufacturing was to high.

          • Butters619

            That’s not how patents work. If Apple creates something in secret in 2007, then Nokia shows the same thing in public in 2008, then Apple applies for the patent in 2009, then prior art should block the patent.

          • InspectorEngadget87

            The prior art being the prototypes that Apple had already made?

          • Unorthodox

            Troll…

          • master94

            The Nokia is considered prior art because Apple did not show it to the public until 2009

          • Unorthodox

            Troll..

          • master94

            If you want to go back as far as written record. The first Flexible Glass was invented by the Romans while some historians believe it was taken from the Chinese by the Romans who later claimed to have made it themselves. After the fall of the empire, the art was lost along with the art of Greek Fire.

          • master94

            Yes, but I was talking flexible Amoled displays. My bad for not making that clear.

        • Unorthodox

          Troll.

    • InspectorEngadget87

      Samsung only publicly disclosed a display. Apple is showing how this display can be used. Samsung makes components that other companies use. So no this wouldn’t be invalid

      • Butters619

        One concept they showed off featured a Note-like smartphone with a display that wrapped around to the edges of the device

        Reading is fundamental

        • InspectorEngadget87

          One CONCEPT they showed off featured a Note-like smartphone with a display that wrapped around to the edges of the device

          Keyword concept, which is not a patent. Your right reading is fundamental. And the whole point is the display is the same as a Samsung processor, made by Samsung and sold to others. Again not making anything invalid.

          • Butters619

            You just freaking said “Samsung only publicly disclosed a display. Apple is showing how this display can be used.”

            My god. Did you even read your first comment? Samsung showed a concept….which is showing how the display can be used… Take two seconds to read. Also, I didn’t say a single thing about making anything invalid.

          • InspectorEngadget87

            The Samsung concept is not newer than the patent that was filed 2 years prior. The whole point of my original statement was to tell Walter that this patent isn’t invalid because a concept was shown, because the patent predates the concept. I never said you said anything was invalid I was referring to the post I replied to. And yes a concept is showing how the display is being used, but the point is the concept shown at CES was in the patent that was applied for already. Which is my whole point that the patent is not invalid. Please READ my whole original statement and comprehend WHY I made the statement.

          • Butters619

            I did read your whole statement and I understand the context, but your statement is wrong.

            If you wanted to say everything you just said, then you should have said it in the first place.

          • InspectorEngadget87

            “Samsung only publicly disclosed a display. Apple is showing how this
            display can be used. Samsung makes components that other companies use.
            So no this wouldn’t be invalid” (original statement)

            Which part of my FIRST statement is wrong.

            Samsung came to CES with a display (true which this article refers to).

            “Apple is showing how this display can be used” (true showing this in the patent).

            ” Samsung makes components that other companies use.” (true they make processors, displays, etc)

            “So no this wouldn’t be invalid” (true, in response to Walter saying that the patent is invalid which its not)

            Please tell me which part is wrong.

          • Butters619

            ONLY <—-that is wrong.

            They didn't ONLY show up with a display. They showed up with a concept phone.

            Go back to Engadget.

          • InspectorEngadget87

            My mistake for using “only” it still doesn’t make the patent invalid which was my entire point. Your really pointing out a insignificant part of the comment.

          • Unorthodox

            Troll……..

          • Butters619

            The word only changed the entire meaning and tone.

          • Unorthodox

            Troll…….

          • Unorthodox

            Troll……

          • Unorthodox

            Troll…..

      • Unorthodox

        Troll….

        • InspectorEngadget87

          You missed a few above.

    • jackdubl

      That’s what I’d think. Prior art.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Lee-McLaurin/100000631016745 Lee McLaurin

    I’m sure Apple has created all sorts of ridiculous, “impossible to make now just-in-case DRAWINGS”, garbage that they hope someone will come out with before they do just so they can sue them. Samsung already has it working while Apple is pretending to be thinking about making it.

    • Marvin Nakajima

      That’s it.. Get the Patent Office to throw out any patents that have no supporting working prototype. Since it will be a new edict, give current patent owners 3-6 months to present their supporting prototype or the patent becomes invalid. No more of this “It works on paper” nonsense.. If it cannot be shown being applied, it should not receive a patent.

  • guitarist5122

    here we go again. Apple, just kill yourself

    • IHATEHIPSTERSSS

      Apple is always innovating. Samsung will find a way to copy this.

  • Joshua Patrick

    I am guessing prior art would in validate this. Haven’t we all seen flexible display phones form renderings etc for this? If not in art aka movies etc?

    • aiden9

      Not sure if this is true any more since the move to the First to File system.

  • Unorthodox

    Aren’t the new rules for filing patents in place? The ones prohibiting filing someone else’s inventions? http://phandroid.com/2013/03/01/america-invents-act/

    • InspectorEngadget87

      Yes they are and this patent was filed in 2011. Samsung showed off their display in 2013. Just FYI

      • Unorthodox

        Troll…….

      • Nkolsen

        No They have shown vids alot earlier…. But Who cares, Apple cant invent anything, so They steal with both arms. And They Will steal This one too. And why Are you Even here platin smartass? The Web adress says phandroid, not ios lover….

        • InspectorEngadget87

          This has nothing to do with Me liking apple you ass, Im studying patent law which is the reason I took interest in this article in the first place. The only Apple product I own is a MacBook which has been running Windows since I took it out the box. But please feel free to continue and hate for the sake of hating. If you read all my rants I haven’t bashed Android once.

  • Chris H

    How does Apple plan to make and “all-glass” wrap-around display? That doesn’t sound feasible at all…

    • Marvin Nakajima

      I suppose if the glass display is flexible enough it will become possible to create a wrap-around display with a single fused edge.

  • famished

    Sounds like a lot of things being open randomly all of the time.

  • Butters619

    Sorry but rectangles fit in pockets better.

  • Sterling Mace

    Question is where would apple get such display, samsung?

  • Maximillion82

    Samsung should have patented this design before they announced the prototype. I have my doubt that Apple has a working version unlike Samsung. But if this patent will be granted this technology will belong to Apple, at least legally. Samsung dropped the ball here

  • rogue3

    Just because Apple filed for the patent, doesn’t mean they’ll get it. *pause* HAHAHAHAHA!!!! Of course they’ll get it! I was just teasing you.

  • HotInEER

    I’m sure Samsung would have filed the necessary patents before openly showing it to the world.

  • Reg Joo

    Now who’s the copycat. Apple, innovative? Not!

  • chuckles87

    so since samsung has shown a physical working model is it not prior art

  • PuzzledObserver

    Don’t under-estimate the power of innovation of Apple. In about 5 years. It will be possible to charge your phone without using a wire. No more wire between your phone and the charger, how about that?

    For those who like physical buttons to software buttons. Apple will file a patent to fulfill your wildest dream: orientable physical buttons. How does that work? You have 3 physical buttons: Home, Back, Menu PER EDGE. In total 12 physical buttons.

    Other innovation: an 8 inches screen in a 4″ form factor. How? There will be a 4″ screen in the backside. Your email will now be displayed half on the front screen and the other half in the back side. You now just need to flip the phone back and forth between the two sides.

    For those who don’t like touch interface, there will be a 2nd proprietary connector to connect a mouse into your iPhone. No more smudge on the screen.

    • Marvin Nakajima

      Ok, this just needs a reply

      1)Wireless smartphone charging technology already exists, (e.g. see PalmOne’s ‘touchstone’)
      2)I can’t even begin to imagine the horrors of finding/designing a case that wouldn’t accidentally press one or more of the physical buttons. Not to mention the added cost of supporting the internal connections required to manufacture such a device. Apple would be the least likely to move away from Apple=Elegant.

      3)ROFL. I can just imagine how unwieldy flipping between the front and back would be. Try not to drop your phone.
      4)I would think Sony or Samsung’s ‘hover’ technology already covers smudge prevention w/o requiring any new openings in the device. Basically it detects your finger a couple millimeters above the surface of the screen.

      • Robert Wynkoop

        I think he knows that. Have you ever heard of sarcasm?

        • Marvin Nakajima

          Ah, probably in the wrong state of mind when I wrote that. :D

  • MK2

    Hmmm, flexible screen that Samsung has demonstrated plus eye tracking camera currently in use by Samsung. Sounds like a patent that SHOULD be easily contested.

  • Marsg

    Wait where is Apple going to get its bendable display from if Samsung is going to be the only company in the next 5 years thats going to mass produce them. Apple is just trolling

    • http://www.facebook.com/people/Matt-Schley/638525173 Matt Schley

      Apple is going to get its bendable display from Samsung, just like all of the other parts they buy from them already…

  • http://www.facebook.com/davidalanbrand David Brand

    I think everyone here is getting ahead of themselves. The article said that even though crApple filed the patent, its still ways off technology wise, so it seems no one will get there any time soon. Plus filing a patent does not equal getting granted that patent, or even having a concept as to how to make something like that work. Its simply a copyright on the idea, if said idea even comes to fruition. Samsung probably has patents on similar tech already filed. Hopefully by the time this tech is even possible, crApple will have gone bankrupt and only Android phones will reap the benefits.

  • Don

    Samsung has had flexible amoled videos that date back to 2009.

    Part of doing a patent, you have to be working with the tech and produce the product….

    I cant Patent a gravitation docking station for my car on mars….and set my children up for life when something similar is eventually built. I have to be able to actually build it.

    Bottom line, one of these two companies builds displays, one of these two companies has been demoing the concept of flexible oled for the last 3 to 4 years…..

    Apple buys so MUCH stuff from Samsung and they have had joint ventures in the past ( intrinsic) that this patent probably is legit.

    My guess is ….Apple is basically patenting how THEY are going to use LICENSED flexible amoled displays and the way thier OS is going to be used on the display.

    I am sure they are planning some retarded screen bounce interaction with the wrap around effect that only they can invent.

    Thats just the way patents work……..I can own US STEEL, does not mean i can build a Shelby cobra out of my own metal and not get sued.

  • http://twitter.com/Mclain2013 Mclain1

    another lawsuit just waiting to happen..

  • defrankjs

    I wonder how many patent attorneys read these comment threads on tech sites for fun…

  • Fozziwig

    Go to Youtube an search for “Nokia GEM: 21st century mobile jewel”. Look familiar? The basic concept of wraparound displays is pretty old. The OLED technology that makes it possible has been in development since (at least) the 1990’s so I would be surprised if there weren’t quite a few patents covering this already.

    Furthermore, a 2012 Samsung patent “reveals an invention that will allow users to take a digital photo or graphic of their choosing and electronically wrap it around their entire device.”

    http://www.patentbolt.com/2012/03/samsung-patent-intros-a-wild-concept-for-smart-device-skins.html

    or this one:

    http://www.patentbolt.com/2012/03/a-samsung-flexible-display-patent-emerges-products-due-in-2013.html

  • Bob Meyer

    Do you think Samsung really showed that tech publicly without already filing for a patent? They didn’t get to where they are today by being that stupid.

  • jurrabi

    This is the trouble of the current patent system. This looks like shooting to the air with all possible shapes, uses and options to cut competition from even trying in the prospect of a lawsuit.