The United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) has finally granted Apple a patent to own the idea of a transparent electronic device. After unstable revenue in 2013 and 2014, the company is determined to position itself at the top of the market again by enhancing its line of products with new, improved, and the most advanced technology known today.
Their CEO Tim Cook said that Apple is working on devices and technologies that “haven’t been rumored about yet.”
The copy of the official patent request (US Patent No. 8,890,771 – Transparent Electronic Device) describes the technology as an opaque display made of several screens to render 3D images while overlaying real-world view. To keep the experience seamless, they also reveal the usage of a “black mask” that conceals all the hardware components behind the display.
Apple Insider, one of the first to break the news on the patent approval, said that this futuristic handset could be the first see-through smartphone or tablet on the market.
Two years ago, the company announced the possibility of releasing a transparent iPhone that would come with a glass display on both sides. Reports said that it would potentially be the iPhone 6. But, the handset came out late last year with the usual Retina display, only with a bigger and brighter screen. As featured by O2, the iPhone 6 comes with a 4.7-inch high definition screen that is said to be the thinnest and most advanced multi-touch display released by the company. Should we expect the iPhone 7 to come with a see-through display instead?
Although revolutionary and innovative, Apple weren’t the first to come out with this technology. Way back in 2009, Samsung revealed at the Consumer Electronic Show (CES) their transparent OLED display. It showcases a small, thin display that can present high definition images via a see-through screen. Click here to view the video presentation at the CES 2009.
In terms of Augmented Reality (AR), Apple had recently bought augmented reality company Metaio on the same day that they acquired the patent. The AR firm also had a previously acquired patent to produce a new type of flexible display with tiny holes that allows the user to see or hear through the screen. Since the successful acquisition, the rest of Metaio’s owned patents will now be surrendered to Apple. The aforementioned flexible display can give the mobile tech giant more resource to build a thin, responsive, and see-through display that can augment items seamlessly.
So far, Apple has been very active acquiring various patented ideas over the years, yet only some of them have become a reality, while the majority never sees the light of day. We hope that Apple will finally be able to come up with another revolutionary technology before their Android competitors get to leverage the technologies. What do you think of a transparent smartphone that has an augmented reality feature? Cool or not? Share your thoughts with us below.