The US Patent and Trademark Office published today 41 freshly granted patents, all of them belonging to Apple. Some of the documents refer to potential iDevices with “sidewall” flexible screens, that could morph into virtual buttons or replace physical buttons.
Special gaming controls could also be applied in this case. The patent covers flexible displays overall and electronic devices with flexible displays. Apple mentions that flexible displays may include one or more flexible layers, that are mounted under a transparent screen cover layer. Apple claims that the housing and flexible screen may be configured to form planar front and rear areas, as well as sidewall surfaces for the device.
A flexible screen can be mounted so at least a portion of it is mounted on the front surface and forms part of that area. This reminds me of various concepts and rumors that Apple or some other company was going to give up volume buttons, in favour of swiping on the sides to change volume. We could also use the side touches to trigger the camera, change brightness and many other controls, including gaming.