Apple patents all-touchscreen phone

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Apple's slavish flock of hipster consumers needs constant stimulus. No sooner have they obediently lined up for the latest slight tweak to the iPhone and bleated their gushing thanks to the TV cameras than they need their latest dose of iTech to make them feel they are ahead of the masses.

Cue plenty of appreciative anticipation at the latest news (or could it be PR?) emerging from Apple HQ. The world's most calculating mega-corporation is working on a phone that is all screen, pretty much anticipates the user's every whim and will be able to recognise a meaningful touch from a casual glance. If only the Apple nerd's human relationships could be as smooth.

Now for the science stuff, hinted at in the detail of Apple's latest patent application (or pat app, as they probably call it). The new phone, although the word hardly does justice to this communications panacea, features a wraparound AMOLED display that could do away with such vulgar anachronisms as keys, with touch gestures and virtual buttons replacing them.

There's more. The patent mentions facial recognition as an additional security measure. Flexible transparent displays can be layered on top of one another in order to produce visual effects that could include 3D. Devices can be linked together to form a kind of super iHub.

The patent is enough to set every Apple fanboy drooling in anticipation, although by the time it reaches the iStores they may have grown up sufficiently to realise it's all a case of design eclipsing purpose.

At present the cost of the components would make it tricky to produce in sufficient quantities to keep even early adopters satisfied. In addition the battery demands of an all-touchscreen phone might be prohibitive. Still, the patent maintains Apple's reputation as the capitalist monolith that likes to dream (of new ways to take your money).

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