It’s important to note that these patents don’t necessarily mean Apple will use these ideas in the next iPhone. They may feature in a different Apple product altogether, or never actually get built, but they provide us with clues into what Apple is thinking and exploring.

Apple’s recent earnings report was slightly disappointing, as it revealed iPhone sales were flattening. The company sold 50.76 million iPhones during the quarter, compared to 51.19 million in the same period the year before.

However, demand for smartphones overall remains strong, according to Marina Koytcheva, director of forecasting at CCS Insight.

“We expect the demand for smartphones to continue to grow in the next five years, as many people who still use feature phones will upgrade to more capable smartphones,” she told CNBC via email on Tuesday.

“While, the growth rate has slowed down a lot in the last couple of years, we still project a growth of 5.4 percent in 2017, to 1.53 billion devices, and to 1.90 billion devices in 2021.”

Premium, high-end smartphone makers may face pressure, as device owners are likely to replace their devices less often, but low-end, cheaper smartphones will benefit from increased demand from emerging markets, according to Koytcheva.

Hat tip to Patently Apple. You can read their report here.

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