Over the past few years, Apple and Samsung have been working on the development of transparent displays to create an AR device with excellent experience on a certain day in the future. Apple submitted a patent in 2009 that includes a transparent display that can be used to augment reality. Samsung demonstrated the prototype of this monitor at the 2009 CES.
At the time, this product was only a preliminary idea (not put into production). Since then, Samsung has begun in-depth research in this area. In 2014, Samsung applied for a new patent, the content of which is a “smartphone with a transparent display,” as shown in the following figure.
In 2015, Patently Mobile’s report described Samsung’s related patents and news released in the field of transparent displays, including the technology that can adjust the transparency of the display, and used holographic elements in the design, in addition to a transparent TV display. , transparent mirrors and smart glass for shop windows.
In 2017, Patently Apple released two reports on Apple Inc., saying it is developing a transparent display device that can be used for augmented reality functions. One of the reports submitted the idea that Apple might set up a partially transparent window for the iPhone in the future, and the other introduced a transparent display that may be used for the MacBook or iMac in the future.
The concept map of the iPhone is shown below.
This week, Samsung submitted another design patent for a smartphone with a transparent display. However, only the design graphics are shown in the patent, and its specific details are not described. However, if you look at the enlarged image, you will find why you would say that this is a transparent display.
This is a very interesting design. As shown in the figure, the mobile phone in the patent is divided into two parts, a mobile phone body with a transparent screen and a foldable back cover. This means that the electronic components such as the battery and the chip must be placed in the back cover. Since the transparent display already accounts for 80% of the volume of the mobile phone, there is almost no space for the electronic component to be placed. If you want to change this situation, Samsung must design a breakthrough battery on the phone panel – small enough and the performance is not affected.
It is clear that Samsung and Apple have been trying to develop AR-related technologies in the past few years. Some of them have also been shown to the outside world, but only a few science and technology fans are concerned. However, since ARKit, which Apple launched at last year’s WWDC, detonated the entire technology circle, AR is no longer as far away as it used to be.
However, since today’s smartphones are equipped with powerful rear-facing cameras, it is difficult to see the need to configure transparent displays for smartphones. But I think this is why Apple is now exploring and researching smart glasses. Whether it’s the iPhone or the accessories of a stand-alone device, integrating AR technology into life seems to be the best way for people to get in touch with AR. Similarly, the iPhone and ARKit will not be the final form of AR, but only provide a proven solution for the market.