With Apple expected to be aiming to make the 2017 iPhone as close to bezel-free as possible, the company will need to take tech that currently sits above or below the screen and find a way to embed it into the display itself. We saw last week the latest patent for embedding Touch ID into the display, and today it’s the turn of the light sensors.

A patent spotted by Apple Insider describes a method for embedding light sensors into either an LCD or OLED display.

In a typical device, a light sensor is laterally displaced from an active display region of the display along a front face of the device. Additional space is therefore provided in common devices at the top, bottom, or side of the active display area to accommodate the light sensor. This can result in an undesirable increase in the size and weight of the device, if care is not taken, displays may be bulky or may be surrounded by overly large borders […]

The [described] light sensor is a display-integrated light sensor that is integrated into the layers of the display. The light, sensor may be interposed between the cover layer and another layer of the display such as the touch-sensitive layer, the light-generating layers, or another display layer.

The specific approach described in the patent would not embed the sensor into the active part of the display, but it would be incorporated just outside the active region in such a way as to be visually indistinguishable.

A recent KGI report spoke of ‘increasing likelihood‘ that the iPhone 8 – or whatever name is eventually chosen – will feature an all-glass front and back, though with stainless steel on premium models.

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Ben Lovejoy

Ben Lovejoy is a British technology writer and EU Editor for 9to5Mac. He’s known for his op-eds and diary pieces, exploring his experience of Apple products over time, for a more rounded review. He also writes fiction, with two technothriller novels, a couple of SF shorts and a rom-com!

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