Apple suggests that sidewall screen space could be used to display app icons, or for slide-to-unlock functionality, music player controls, messaging readout, caller ID, system controls and more.
Samsung has actually released the Galaxy Note Edge, which has a display that wraps around one edge of the smartphone. You can find out more about the Galaxy Note Edge here.
Touch ID display
Apple is even investigating including the fingerprint scanner into the display of a smartphone or tablet, taking the technology even further. In fact, Apple filed a patent describing a Touch ID display back in January 2013.
This technology means that you could place your finger on the display to scan it, instead of the Home Button. We're not sure if this technology was an original variation to the Home Button scanner found on the iPhone 5S, or if it'll be combined with the Haptics & Tactile technology to remove the Home Button on a future iPhone and replace it with a virtual on-screen button.
The patent describes a touchscreen display with a fingerprint-sensing layer that could be used to introduce advanced multi-user support.
For example, Apple could use the fingerprint sensing display to only allow particular users to open certain apps. This could be useful for those with children who like to explore the iPad, for example.
Additionally, Apple could take the display even further. It could be used in conjunction with a piano app, for example, to teach users the correct finger placement for the instrument.
Accidental touchscreen inputs are so commonplace that we actually added the phrase 'Pocket dialling' to our tech jargon dictionary. Well, developments over the next few years could put a stop to that.
In May 2014, a patent titled "Configurable Buttons for Electronic Devices" described a touch-sensitive button designed to prevent accidental inputs. The patent covers a physical button that also has a touch sensor, which would know when a user's finger is touching it rather than another object in a bag.
The buttons highlighted in Apple's patent include the power, sleep, menu, volume and multipurpose buttons that are physical on most devices and therefore susceptible to accidental input.
Apple's Touch ID home button uses similar technology to the technology described in this patent, though it's also used as a security measure thanks to a fingerprint scanning authentication method.
iPhone 8 and beyond: Camera
The iPhone is one of the most widely used cameras in the world. What's in store for this vital element of the iPhone of the future?
Lucky iPhone owners of the future may get their hands on a feature currently offered only by premium video cameras.
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