Apple's Foldable Phone Alternative Has a Wraparound Display

The iPhone 11 Pro (Image credit: Tom's Guide)

Many companies think that the future of smartphones is using flexible displays, like we’ve seen with the Samsung Galaxy Fold. There are other ideas however, such as the wraparound design we’ve got here from Apple.

An updated patent found by Patently Apple (via TechRadar) shows an iPhone with a display that extends all the way around the back of the phone, with the latest update specifying that this would be a full ‘continuous loop’. This would be made of a transparent outer layer, now specified to be manufactured from glass, with a flexible display beneath.

(Image credit: USPTO)

The original patent dates back at least to 2011, with Patently Apple first spotting it in 2013, and then again in 2015, and then in 2018 when the patent was officially awarded to Apple. We’ve also seen enthusiast-designed concepts based on this patent, although these were done back in 2016 when we were looking forward to the iPhone 8, so they’re a little out of date.

We’ve already seen a Samsung wraparound phone patent earlier this year, and previous Apple patents for a foldable iPhone. Although foldable phones such as the Huawei’s Mate X, the rebooted Motorola Razr and Microsoft’s upcoming Surface Duo are getting a lot of attention, we’re still seeing Apple make tweaks to an eight-year-old design.. The wraparound design makes use of the same tech that foldables use, except without the fragile folding mechanism that proves to often be the phone’s undoing.

That said, a regularly updated patent is still a patent. All these documents can undeniably prove is that Apple is thinking about this design, and if there is going to be a physical product made according to these ideas, it could still be years away, if it comes at all.

Richard Priday
Assistant Phones Editor

Richard is based in London, covering news, reviews and how-tos for phones, tablets, gaming, and whatever else people need advice on. Following on from his MA in Magazine Journalism at the University of Sheffield, he's also written for WIRED U.K., The Register and Creative Bloq. When not at work, he's likely thinking about how to brew the perfect cup of specialty coffee.