Apple patented an iPhone with a wraparound screen

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The company describes how its wrap around display might work:

The majority of portable electronic device manufacturers utilize a common form factor consisting generally of a flat planar form factor with a single surface dedicated mainly for use as a display surface, while the other surfaces remain largely unused, save for the occasional button or switch. The conventional form factor has been used in devices such as smart phones, tablet devices, and electronic book readers. Although this form factor lends itself to electronic devices that are aesthetically pleasing and easy to handle, the requirement for a planar display and associated circuitry inherently limits the amount of surface area to single surface. More specifically, the size of the user interface is generally limited to a portion of the device that takes up less than half of the overall device surface area.

The patent notes that much of the space in conventional devices is wasted.

A large majority of portable electronic devices have settled into a standard form factor; namely a flat planar form factor with a display on one side and an opaque housing which contains the electrical components covering the rear surface of the device. Unfortunately, this popular form factor, leaves the sides and rear surfaces of the device unused or at best configured with buttons and switches with fixed location and functionality. Since many of these buttons and switches have fixed functionality they cannot always be incorporated into third party applications. Therefore, there exists a need for an improved form factor for portable electronic devices which allows functionality to extend to more than one surface of the device.

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