Food for thought: translucent iPad concept

By , Feb 1, 2013

When I stumbled upon a translucent iPhone concept, my first thought was “OMG, somebody apply this to a 9.7-inch canvas”. Looks like 3D artist  Ricardo Afonso listened to my prayers, creating this iPad concept which calls for a radical transparent screen that incorporates a pair of metallic stripes at the top and bottom, for the home button and FaceTime camera.

In theory, the iPad’s motherboard might be small enough to fit inside the top stripe, but we’d need some breakthrough, ultra-thin, ultra-efficient battery design to turn such an extreme concept into a reality.

Regardless, I’m loving how this guy’s brain works. An all-screen transparent design – talk about total immersion…

Ricardo shares his extreme design philosophy:

Sometimes I like to imagine how the design of some electronic devices will be in the future. In the specific case of tablets and smartphones, I imagine them as just a rectangular piece of glass that blends perfectly with the surrounding environment, without any elements of the hardware that could visually disconnect the user from the content during the interaction, improving the level of immersion and the user experience.

Here are a few nice stills.

Translucent iPad model (Ricardo Alfonso 001)

Translucent iPad model (Ricardo Alfonso 004)

Translucent iPad model (Ricardo Alfonso 002)

Translucent iPad model (Ricardo Alfonso 003)

If you want to experiment with the 3D model, download it here.

What say you?

From usability standpoint, would an iPad with a transparent screen make sense at all?

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  • PJ

    It’s beautiful I have to admit.. but I can’t find a way that all the hardware goes..

    • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1380073379 Quang Truong

      Remember the transistor on processor years ago? Compare it to transistor on current processor. Its like an elephant and an ant :)

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Jordan-Stussy/548417711 Jordan Stussy

    Nice, this will prob come out after the next round of iPads and Minis

  • http://richardwaterworth.me.uk/ Richard Waterworth

    Be impossible to stick all the guts behind a home button and camera

    • http://twitter.com/S_Lacertosa Stefano

      Don’t say impossible; we know NOTHING is impossible, it’s just a matter of time. Rhetorically speaking, who’d of thought the iPad was going to get as thin as the mini this soon?

      • http://richardwaterworth.me.uk/ Richard Waterworth

        Nice point, I had an iPod touch 3g then went to the 4g and it was ALOT thinner and lighter….

      • Mohammad Ridwan

        Even if it’s possible, I’d pass it..

      • http://twitter.com/S_Lacertosa Stefano

        I’d like to agree with you because I too like weight and substance to devices. I have yet to ‘play’ with the iPad mini, so I can’t really say how I’d prefer that style

    • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1380073379 Quang Truong

      place urself in 1800s period. do you think you can fly? do you think you have an iPad, iPhone?

    • http://twitter.com/rud0lf77 Rudolf Lichtner

      Actually everything except for the Battery would fit there.

      • http://richardwaterworth.me.uk/ Richard Waterworth

        Wireless batteries!

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100000945354629 Avery Massenburg

    Looks good until you drop it. I don’t care how strong the glass claims to be, It’s gonna get broken.

    • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1380073379 Quang Truong

      when we can make invisible display, hardware can fit to the home button and camera, we probably have glass material as strong as steel :) Just hope

  • Amelo

    All that technology and the home button is still a button…

    • Falk M.

      You hate tactile feedback, don’t you?

      • sadaN

        We hate this crap button that has been a major problem since iPhone 2g, with all the potential Apple have, they can make a descent button.

      • Falk M.

        See, there is the difference.
        Making a decent button, that’s something I can relate to. The durability is beyond shitty and definitely not worthy of being called Apple quality, after all the home button should at least work flawlessly for the 2 years I get to keep the phone on my contract.

        However, no button at all, not sure I’d like that.

        Also, why do you say “we”?
        Do you want to alienate me?

      • sadaN

        I say we, because I have no come across one single person who said “I actually enjoy pressing this shitty button”. I’m sure I’m not alone, pardon me if you have fun with you button.

      • Falk M.

        Yeah, we make out every night! *thumbs up* :D

      • sadaN

        HAHAHAHAHA proper funny answer :D

        sorry if I seemed rude, didnt mean to!

      • http://www.facebook.com/siggen Sigurd Bøe

        I like it, but only to exit apps.
        Cant wait for Zephyr on my iPhone 5.

    • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1380073379 Quang Truong

      i love tactile feedback. Actually, the best keyboard in the market is mechanical keyboard, and the keys are much thicker than keys on apple keyboard.

  • Guest

    No thanks! Maybe in 2020..

  • Voice of Treason

    Notice how the backgrounds in the concept video are all blurred out significantly? Yeah, in reality it wouldn’t be like that. You would be struggling to keep your focus, constantly distracted by whatever is going on in the background. Never mind that the technology doesn’t exist, this is just impractical.

    • JamesR624

      This. This is why translucent displays like this should never become a thing. The point of a display is to well, display stuff clearly and let you focus on the content it is displaying. Everytime I see a “translucent” iDevice concept, I can only think about the migraines and eye aches I would get from trying to focus on the content of the screen. (I’m already amazing that samsung is attempting a translucent TV. Really dumb idea for practical reasons.) This would be akin to having a movie theater but the wall the screen is on is made of glass.

      All this would do is make ALREADY near impossible to use in daylight screens EVEN MORE impossible to use.

      The next display technology needs to be fusing LCD/LED and e-ink so that we can use the displays of our phones in tablets outside as well as inside without headaches. This seems to be the opposite direction.

  • http://twitter.com/KraKsX KraKsX

    BATTERY….?

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1328808990 Bhuvan Kalra

    No thanks, I’m happy not showing porn to people in front of me.

    • http://www.facebook.com/BikenNo.9 Biken Dangol

      Back won’t be visible.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1328808990 Bhuvan Kalra

    Where is the storage, battery and the chip. Now don’t tell me they got it all b/w these layers of glass.

    • http://twitter.com/steelahlive Steelahlive

      Well on the merits of this is a CONCEPT video after all, i’d say the items you ask about are NOT inbetween the layers but more specifically they’re probably in the upper or lower parts that house the speakers and camera. Additionally again since this is concept – there has to be a bit of suspended reality – this is definitely doable with todays tech. Samsung already has it out there and testing with windows, also, they have it so the back turns opaque and or as black as it can get so you are NOT sharing a reverse image of your porn to the world if so you desire. SO those worrying, fear not the tech’s not shrunk down yet to have batteries and everything else into those little top and bottom arm rails so to speak, but I like the concept – Great Video – I would take it in a heartbeat.

  • http://twitter.com/oneBurge Burge

    As a concept this is great and it is just a concept. I like how others are saying Battery and and storage and chip and other things aswell .. It’s a concept nothing more just someone’s imagination gone with the fairys, take it for what it is..

  • http://twitter.com/JoyCiticonti Andrew von Pikrt

    In 5 to 10 years? Sure. Maybe even sooner. Grapheene self powered displays are real and still in development.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Diego-Milano/629446773 Diego Milano

    I vote yes, but only if you have the option to make the glass opaque, otherwise it’s not ergonomic.

  • http://twitter.com/JoyCiticonti Andrew von Pikrt

    I thought this was a blog full of tech savvy people…. Im properly disappointed of some ignorant comments on this.

    1) The technology DOES exist, to oppose whoever said that it didnt here, its just not that perfected yet and not ready for mass production, never mind that it has beyond horizon opportunities, that hasnt been even discovered yet, but it will be in few years time.

    2) Focus and distractions are kind of irrelevant point, as the display CAN refocus and refit the light/shade projection to block out the backgrounds.

    3) This will become reality in few years. (few doesnt mean 2, but more like 10) – and it WILL be in everyday life, if u like it or not. Smart kitchen appliance is reality today. Super resistant, highly conductive, self powered multi-layer surfaces are in the works and are showing great improvements all the time.

    Ive held a few prototypes in my own hands and it is just gonna happen, better get over it.

    • Kurt

      ive seen it on youtube a while back. they are cool. i dont think id want one for a tablet screen but for a window, glass table or mirror that would be cool. you can see it in laptops on youtube. but i would have to mess with it and see if i like it.

  • FrankensteinBlack

    An iFanBoy’s wet dream. Well TO LATE! Samsung will beat Apple to the punch (Search for Samsung Transparent Smart Window – Youtube) as the fruit company settles into a Toyota like existence churning out safe, reliable and booring iCamry devices that are essentially the same old product just slightly taller, slightly thinner, slightly faster with a heavy dose of iOS boooooring!

    • planetcoalition

      Stopped at your second word. Try harder.

    • Guest

      I thought Haters were just a legend. But seems like the actually exist, and they are even more stupid than I expected.

  • anwarkey

    wonderful

  • http://www.facebook.com/abrakebill Austin Brakebill

    Aaaaaaaand someone put a case on it.

  • char

    where is battery??

    • Kurt

      works off radio waves ;)

  • 3aloo1

    The Problem is its easy breakable

  • Daniel

    Take it easy man. It sounds like you hate your life.

  • Daniel

    Yes, it’s concept, but I don’t like it. Camera at the top and Home Button at the bottom are just bad attached. I would like it if it’s just peace of glass.

  • Zaki

    So how about the case ?