News by Dan Seifert on Thursday April 07, 2011.
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Apple has filed new patent applications that hint at new hybrid-display technology and "smart bezels" that can allow additional information to be displayed outside of the main screen area.
The hybrid-display patent entails using two different display modes based on the content that is being pushed to the screen. The e-ink mode could be employed when the device is just displaying still images or text. When displaying rich graphics or video, a traditional LCD mode would be utilized. The benefits to switching between the two would be greater readability in direct sunlight and extended battery life when the e-ink mode is used.
The other patent deals with a "smart bezel" system that would allow for additional information to be displayed outside of the screen area. This extra information could provide a solution to Apple's notification system that is usually considered to be the weakest point of iOS. The bezel could light up and notify users of a new message or missed call. It could also be utilized to instruct users on how to use specific apps.
Patent applications are just that, applications, and are not indicative or guaranteeing of products that we will definitely see. Apple could have just applied for these patents to give it claim to technologies that it does not ever actually use. Nevertheless, the concepts employed by these particular patent applications are interesting and could end up being useful for phones or tablets in the future. [Patently Apple and Apple Insider via GigaOm]
Dan is MobileBurn.com's Editor-in-Chief. Based in Poughkeepsie in New York, Dan can be found on Twitter as @DCSeifert.