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Apple private LCD screen patent keeps your secrets safe

Everybody needs some privacy every now and again, which is why Apple filed a patent for an LCD screen that lets you adjust the angle so no-one can lean over your shoulder.

Everybody needs some privacy every now and again -- just ask Ryan Giggs. That includes when you're jammed on the train or bus and you want to keep the contents of your iPod or iPhone secret, which is why Apple has filed a patent for an LCD screen that lets you adjust the angle so no-one can lean over your shoulder.

Electronista spotted the patent, which is designed to "shield the display away from unintended viewers", allowing you to listen to embarrassing music or watch, ahem, adult material without your screen giving you away. Triangular elements behind the screen would narrow the direction of the light coming from the display when you switch into 'privacy mode', concealing it from prying eyes.

You'd still be able to see the screen from head on and enjoy your private browsing or viewing.

Apple reckons it could be used as a screen that would be shielded from other people in a car. High-end cars such as the Jaguar XJ 2010 and Range Rover 2011 already boast systems that let the driver and passenger see different things on the same screen, and a similar technology could come to Apple laptops or mobile devices.

The patent includes LCD and OLED screens, as well as other types of displays. It could be applied to a laptop to protect sensitive data, allowing you to work on the train without worrying that you're exposing important information -- whether it's the latest figures from accounts or that screenplay idea you thought up in the bath.

What's the first thing you'd look at if you knew no-one else could see your laptop or iPhone? Let us know in the comments.