As iPhone 5 rumors have trickled over the past month, one that's popped up repeatedly is a screen so big it nearly does away with the bezel. That's the area around the display, and right before the very edge of the device that sits as unused space.
But such a screen might be at odds with a new Apple patent application unearthed by Patently Apple. The patent outlines a secondary display embedded within the bezel that would extend what's happening on the main screen to the surrounding area.
The applications for such a design are broad, from notifications and other indicators to a display area that apps can make use of to extend the user interface. Such features could be handy on a small screen where even given a high-pixel density, total real estate is limited by the casing itself.
The patent description spells this much out:
To assist a user in providing inputs, traditional devices use the display to provide indicators to the user regarding where and how to provide a touch input. For example, a traditional device may display a virtual button on a touch screen to indicate that a user can touch that portion of the screen to provide an input. However, providing such indicators occupies space on the touch screen that could otherwise be used for displaying visual content.
The patent describes this functionality including not just phones, but media players like the iPod, PDAs, laptops, and cameras. … Read more