Apple has been granted a patent (number 20180047320) for a “transparent electronic device” — the device being a display to be used for, among other things, augmented reality (AR) purposes on iPhones, iPads, and Macs.
In the patent filing, Apple notes that electronic devices increasingly include display screens as part of the user interface of the device. As these devices have become more popular, there has been an increase in demand for the type and amount of functionality that displays in these devices supply. Apple says there’s a need for displays that provide increased functionality to a user.
What sort of functionality? A screen could have a viewing area with a transparent portion enabling a user to view objects behind the electronic device by looking at the display — in other words, an AR overlay.
According to the invention, the display may include one or more display screens as well as a flexible circuit for connecting the display screens with internal circuitry of an electronic device. What’s more, the display screens may allow for overlaying of images over real world viewable objects, as well as a visible window to be present on an otherwise opaque display screen. Additionally, the display may include active and passive display screens that may be utilized based on images to be displayed.
Of course, Apple files for — and is granted — lots of patents by the U.S. Patent & Trademark Office. Many are for inventions that never see the light of day. However, you never can tell which ones will materialize in a real product.