While Android phones are already copying iPhone X’s camera notch, a new report from Bloomberg suggests that Apple might be borrowing a page or two from Samsung and LG for its next design shift.
According to Mark Gurman—who earlier this week divulged that Apple is preparing to move away from Intel processors in its Macs—Apple is working on an iPhone with a screen “that curve(s) inward gradually from top to bottom.” While Apple has used curved glass on its handsets since the iPhone 6, and the edges of the iPhone X curve slightly around the edges, it’s yet to introduce a device with a visibly curved screen.
Bloomberg’s report doesn’t include much in the way of specifics, but the description above makes it sound like the design will be similar to the ill-fated LG G Flex phone from a few years back. Of course, Samsung’s Galaxy S phones have had Infinity screens for years, but they curve downward at the sides rather than up at the top and bottom.
Also in development is a feature that would let users control their phone without physically touching the screen. According to Gurman, the new gesture would allow iPhone users to “perform some tasks by moving their finger close to the screen without actually tapping it.” It seems like a similar concept to Air View on the Galaxy S4, a feature that could “detect when your finger is within about a quarter-inch of the screen and provide you an array of information about the content you are in proximity to.” Back when we reviewed the Galaxy S4, we like the idea of Air View’s and found it useful with wet and dirty hands. However, Samsung ended up killing the feature on the Galaxy S6.
Gurman says that both features are still years away. Rumor has it that this year’s iPhone update will bring a 6.5-inch phone with the same design as the iPhone X and a cheaper 6.1-inch model with an LCD screen.
Why this matters: While the reports here might never make their way into an iPhone, it’s always fun to hear about what Apple is working on. There have been rumors about a curved screen iPhone for years, but this is the strongest rumor yet that Apple is moving forward with the concept. While the hover rumors are new, they make sense. Apple introduced 3D Touch on the iPhone 6s and Force Touch on the Mac to trigger different actions than simply tapping, but touch-free gestures would be a whole new ballgame.