If you’re one of the many people who get annoyed at people staring at what you do when you’re using your iPhone or iPad in public places, this recently discovered Apple patent will bring a smile to your face. In the patent, Apple describes a technology that would place a “scattering module” behind the screen of a mobile device and wedge-like liquid crystal elements in the screen itself that steer the lights going through the display. When privacy mode is enabled, the cone of light would be narrowed so that only the user of the device who has a head-on view of the device will be able to see what’s on the screen and not somebody who’s looking over your shoulder.
In the patent, Apple didn’t limit themselves to using the technology in just mobile devices, but covered potential cases such as in the car for a driver only display. Apple also didn’t limit the technology to LCD displays, suggesting OLEDs and even carbon nanotube screens as possible displays it would work with. As usual, with all patents, they are by no means solid evidence that a company is going to use them in the future. But this privacy mode toggle screen sure sounds like a nifty feature to have especially if you have to read confidential documents while on the train.