Apple wins patent on opaque-to-transparent bezel tech

The company's patent will hide portions of a device's display until it's actually needed.

Don Reisinger
CNET contributor Don Reisinger is a technology columnist who has covered everything from HDTVs to computers to Flowbee Haircut Systems. Besides his work with CNET, Don's work has been featured in a variety of other publications including PC World and a host of Ziff-Davis publications.
Don Reisinger
A bezel. iDealChina

The bezel around touch-screen displays might become a bit more useful in the future, if Apple has its way.

The company on Tuesday was awarded a patent on a bezel technology that could extend the viewable area of the screen. The patent, which was filed in September 2012, specifically describes a method by which the bezel around the display will remain opaque when users are touching around the screen. As they get close to the bezel, however, it turns transparent to reveal more screen real estate. Apple specifically calls it a "window." AppleInsider was first to discover the patent.

Apple's technology essentially aims at making screen bezels, which have heretofore been useless for viewing more of the screen, into interactive display elements. The result is the possibility of users seeing a bit more of a display by peeking inside the "window" created by an interactive bezel.

It's not clear what Apple has in mind for the bezel technology, and like every other patent that the company files, it's completely possible that Apple won't ever launch the feature. However, the company's diagrams showing the technology in action seem to indicate that it would work best on a tablet or smartphone.