Apple has patented two major features for the iPhone 8 that have thus far been announced, indicating that the tech giant is working on these new additions for its next flagship.
In patents revealed this week, Apple has designed concepts for an edge-to-edge display and a Touch ID button embedded into an iPhone screen. These features have been rumored for a while now, but this is the first indication that Apple is actively working on them.
The images attached to the patents reveal a screen that curves at both edges, with this curved border wrapping around the sides of the device. The intention for this feature is to reduce the border area of the iPhone, maximizing the display/interactive touch areas of the device. “Bending the edges can reduce the width (or length) of the panel, which in turn can allow the overall device to be narrower without reducing the display/touch-active area of the device,” the patent reads.
The iPhone 8 was previously rumored to have a curved screen, speculation that was dismissed by KGI Securities’ Ming-Chi Kuo. However, this patent does highlight how these rumors could have been the result of a miscommunication, with the iPhone 8’s design seemingly set to be curved while its display remains flat.
The news of the home button’s absence in the next flagship iPhone was allegedly leaked last month, with schematics showing how the familiar Apple feature would be replaced with modules for wireless charging, a Taptic Engine and 3D Touch. According to the patent, the Touch ID fingerprint recognition system featured in previous iPhone models will now work using the display of the iPhone, rather than a home button.
The patent details why such a feature would be useful, describing how the user could authenticate their iPhone without having to remove their finger from the screen. “Where a fingerprint sensor is integrated into an electronic device or host device, for example, as noted above, it may be desirable to more quickly perform authentication, particularly while performing another task or an application on the electronic device,” the patent reads. “In other words, in some instances it may be undesirable to have a user perform an authentication in a separate authentication step, for example switching between tasks to perform the authentication.”
The iPhone 8 is expected to be revealed in early September, following Apple tradition. It would then likely be released in mid-September. Following the middling reception to the iPhone 7, analysts have predicted that Apple will be looking to provide the first major overhaul to the iPhone product line since the record-breaking iPhone 6, with the device also set to mark the 10th anniversary of the iPhone family.