SAN FRANCISCO, CA (USATODAY.com) -- Design wizards at Apple are exploring the next big "way out there" potential for smartphones.
The latest evidence comes from a patent filing for what looks like a phone with a wraparound display, published today at the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office.
Apple's patent filing states there is a need for an improved form factor for portable electronic devices that allows functions to extend to more than one surface. Apple is "investigating ways to maximize the utility of unused portions of these devices," the document says.
Apple's product fortress has filed heaps of patents on gizmos that never see the light of day. On Tuesday, the USPTO published an Apple patent filing that describes a smartpen that offers "full personal digital assistance functionality." Think calendars and contacts on a tiny display that responds to motion via an accelerometer.
Rarely do Apple patents give a clear early glimpse into its future plans. The company's filing of patents around what appears to be an iWatch smartwatch device could be one such unusual example, published last month at the USPTO.
Apple's wraparound screen device was invented by Scott Myers, presumably a design engineer at Apple, according to the patent filing.