Apple has reportedly started making the glass painting glasses for its iPhone 8, but they’re still a ways off.
Apple’s patent covers a “tangible surface” that can be etched into a glass pane or an “apparel surface”.
The glass surface could include any surface that’s transparent, such as a surface that is transparent to light or to sound.
In an interview with The Wall Street Journal, Apple CEO Tim Cook said the company’s glasses could be “a real big thing” for the next 10 years.
“We’ve never seen anything like it before,” Cook said.
“This is the best-kept secret in technology.”
Apple’s glasses were first introduced to the public in 2011, but Apple has previously been reluctant to talk about them.
Last year, Cook said that they were still a long way off, though, saying that the glasses are a long ways from being mass-produced.
“I think we’ve got about four years left,” Cook told Bloomberg at the time.
“It’s a long, long way from that.”
Cook’s comments come amid an Apple-led effort to create the first-ever wearable display for the iPhone.
The company’s wearable technology is already being used by a number of companies, including the military and a handful of US law enforcement agencies.
Apple, however, has not been forthcoming with its plans for its wearable display, even with the introduction of the iPhone 8 last year.
In a press release last year, Apple said that it would unveil a “smart wearable” device “by the end of the year”.
The new patent is just the latest in a series of recent announcements from Apple, including a $5bn (£3.9bn) buyout of Beats Electronics in September, a new smartwatch and a new iPhone.