Whether it’ll be made entirely of glass, or incorporate a bit of stainless steel as well for good measure, it’s looking more and more likely that the game-changing iPhone 8 will be all screen, possibly following in the footsteps of a similarly bezel-free Samsung Galaxy S8.
But for that to happen, and iPhone designs to be altered forever, Apple needs to move a few things around. Namely, everything you currently see integrated on the top and bottom display borders has to either go away or inside the actual panel. The now capacitive home button, fingerprint recognition, proximity sensor, ambient light sensor, eve-ry-thing.
A series of patents aimed at covering Cupertino’s back in case such groundbreaking proprietary technologies are deemed ready for primetime as early as next fall have recently come to light, including one filed in June 2015 and granted by the USPTO today, October 11, 2016.
The title really says it all: electronic devices with display-integrated light sensors. That’s the main target, detailed in the abstract as a new type of display containing a “transparent cover layer, light-generating layers, and a touch-sensitive layer”, with “the display-integrated light sensor interposed between the transparent cover layer and a display layer such as the touch-sensitive layer or a thin-film transistor layer of the light-generating layers.”
Long story short, this may facilitate the complete removal of the iPhone 8’s visible “forehead” in addition to the previously arranged “chin” eradication, assuming mass production isn’t too tricky or costly. In other words, keep your skeptical hats on.