Patent application shows Apple thinks users will flip over a future generation iPhone

“The US Patent & Trademark Office has published a patent application from Apple that reveals one of the next chapters for Apple’s iPhone,” Jack Purcher reports for Patently Apple.

“According to Apple’s documentation, a future iPhone could actually sport a display on each side of the device so as to advance the richness of reading an e-book or e-magazine,” Purcher reports. “In April of this year Apple revealed a hybrid e-paper and LCD display for a future iPhone and today Apple explains how a user will be able to use such a display with a new flip action mapping system. The mapping system will provide a reader with options that will easily enable them to take notes about what they’re reading or view a full dictionary definition or even find related reading materials depending on which direction that they flip their iPhone. This future iPhone will also be able to be turned into unique image viewer.”

Purcher reports, “While this is definitely a futuristic design, we’re at least getting a peek into the intial phases of Apple’s research in finding the ultimate reading application for future mobile devices.”

Full article, including Apple’s patent application illustrations, here.


  1. At first I thought that this was crazy. But once you get your head around how this could work, it’s actually a very interesting way to utliize two displays without creating a bulky fold out design like others have and that Sony will be releasing this year for Android. In some ways this is a better design and in others I think the Sony design will be better. We’re definitely moving into a time when mobile device designs will be rapidly changing and this is going to be great for consumers who like choice.

  2. We’ve had cell phones that resembled the Star Trek original series flip-open communicators.

    There is a Star Trek PADD application for the iPad.

    The next iPhone will merge with the iPod shuffle, to give us ST:TNG-type communicator badges.

    1. Actually, Paramount missed the opportunity to license the Star Trek Communicator during the flip-phone era. A giant mistake on their part, I feel.

      I think an exact replica would have been a huge seller — not to business customers, obviously, but to millions of fans and collectors.

  3. If I understand this correctly, the display on the bottom side of the phone would be useless unless turned over making the former top side now useless.

    The same functions could be achieved on just one display if the flip gestures were programmed to change the image. I don’t get the need for the second display

    On the other hand, if a display was incorporated on notebook and desktop track pads to allow icons and functions to be tapped, I would love it.

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