I don't see why Nintendo would think the free-form display (at least in the picture/patent configuration) is something adequate.
You'd be covering part of the screen with your hands, so it would be a waste...
If its real, the screen would be the place for the front screen buttons? Thats pretty cool if it works with no hitches, I could imagine being able to set up button placements anywhere on the touch screen similar to how emulators on phones do. Perhaps even have more than standard 8 front buttons or even have QTE prompts directly on the touchscreen. It basically is like an evolution of the wii u controller.
50% of the reason that I'm excited for the NX has to do with the portable experience we've been teased with so far. Being able to use an old controller with it in console mode does little to nothing to quell my fears.