Behold, the iPhone 6. Nah, we're only joking -- what you see above is a diagram lifted from an Apple patent application that popped up at the USPTO today, which describes a "consumer electronic product" that's nothing but screen. The patent involves building a device from an open-ended transparent body (of glass, for example) that becomes a full wrap-around display when a flexible AMOLED screen is unfurled within it. It doesn't imagine all that real-estate will necessarily be used at once, though, and includes details of a "detection mechanism," such as a camera and facial recognition software, which would determine how much of the screen you can see, so that power is only sent to the parts that are in view. It's important to note that, apart from mentioning some real-world applications, the concept and method of constructing a wrap-around display are all the application covers. In other words, this patent does not describe anything close to a complete device. Apologies if we've killed your buzz, but we're just managing expectations before we move onto some interesting spitballing from Apple about what other design features such a device could carry -- read on after the break for more.
While the diagram up top is certainly the most attractive-looking concept in the filing, several other form factors are suggested as potential recipients of a wrap-around display, including the traditional rectangle with rounded corners, and one sketch that's almost cylindrical. It's also suggested that part of the housing could be metallic, providing some extra support. In the claims, the transparent body is described as being open at both ends, and Apple explains the "end caps" could allow devices to be connected together (think centiPhone), or could be swapped out for others, such as "an improved camera or a different set of wireless antennae." Layering multiple screens within the enclosure is elaborated on, and could serve to increase image depth for a semi-3D effect. And what about the external buttons? Apple explains alternatives like on-screen replacements and using multitouch gestures to disable screen lock. It's worth reiterating that not only is this just an application, but would be an incredible (and likely, incredibly expensive) feat to actually create something even close to this concept. Also, we don't care how strong Gorilla Glass gets with each new generation -- we're not sure we'd be brave enough to carry around an all-glass iPhone.