Apple may have just hampered the plans of numerous smartphone companies, as they have just been awarded a patent on what could already be on a lot of drawing boards. A future iPhone iteration will very likely have an edge-to-edge display, with typically visible components hidden underneath.
Awarded by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, Apple's U.S. Patent No. 9,543,364 for "Electronic devices having displays with openings" describes a method by which various components can be mounted behind perforations in a device screen that are so small as to be imperceptible to the human eye. This arrangement would allow engineers to design a smartphone or tablet with a true edge-to-edge, or "full face," display. Until recently, smartphone aesthetics have been both defined and limited by their most dominant feature: the display. Conventional candybar designs made popular by iPhone put the screen front and center, with supporting hardware arranged along its periphery.