Apple patent filings come and go all the time, offering a tantalising glimpse at what weird and wonderful ideas the company has up its sleeve for the future. Whether they'll ever see the light of day is another matter, but if Apple's latest concept becomes a reality, we could soon be in for a wildly different iPhone and iPad design.
According to the new filing, the company is working on both a smartphone and tablet featuring a touchscreen display on the back of the device. Apple suggests this could prove particularly useful for photography, and it certainly sounds like the tech could seriously shake up our best camera phones list – one day.
As spotted by Patently Apple (opens in new tab), the filing (above) reveals that the rear display for both the iPad and iPhone can be "configured to show text, colours, line drawings, photographs, animations, video, and the like".
Apple claims this could be particularly useful for photography, by providing "stimulus features" that could make subjects being photographed pay attention to the camera, or to smile or laugh on cue. Because what child is going to look away from a giant Panda face on the back of the device?
A rear camera could also prove useful for the all-important art form that is the selfie. At present, the iPhone's rear camera is much more powerful than the front lens, but an extra screen could make it possible to use the back camera instead. Using a camera that's anything like the iPhone 12 Pro Max (opens in new tab)'s for selfies and video calls is going to result in, well, much better-looking selfies and video calls.
While the iPhone 13 already sounds pretty incredible, we doubt we'll be seeing anything as revolutionary as a second screen pop up this year. Indeed, the iPhone 12 line-up was given a sleek new look last year, and iPhone redesigns tend to hang around for a few generations. But based on recent rumours surrounding the foldable iPhone Flip and new patent filings like this one, Apple's product line-up might look very different in a few years' time.
But let's not forget – Apple's current iPhone and iPad offering is about as future-proof as it gets. Check out today's best deals below, and take a look at our main Apple deals page for more brilliant offers.