Apple's new iPhone and iPad designs are like nothing we've seen before

A recent render of the upcoming iPhone 13 (Image credit: Concept Creator)

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.

iPhone / iPad patent

A screenshot from Apple's latest patent filing (Image credit: Patently Apple)

As spotted by Patently Apple, 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?

iPad concept

Patently Apple's imagining of "stimulus features" for those being photographed (Image credit: Patently Apple)

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'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.

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Daniel Piper
Senior News Editor

Daniel Piper is Creative Bloq’s Senior News Editor. As the brand’s Apple authority, he covers all things Mac, iPhone, iPad and the rest. He also reports on the worlds of design, branding and tech. Daniel joined Future in 2020 (an eventful year, to say the least) after working in copywriting and digital marketing with brands including ITV, NBC, Channel 4 and more. Outside of Future, Daniel is a global poetry slam champion and has performed at festivals including Latitude, Bestival and more. He is the author of Arbitrary and Unnecessary: The Selected Works of Daniel Piper (Selected by Daniel Piper).