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Apple said pushing for curved glass on next iPhone

updated 07:40 am EDT, Mon May 23, 2011

iPhone 2011 may go curved glass

Apple may borrow a cue from earlier iPod nanos and even Dell for the display of the next iPhone, insiders claimed Monday. Component suppliers have heard Apple would implement a curved glass cover and had been pushing to overcome the cost barriers to the technology by buying the glass cutter machinery itself. The company had reportedly left the machines in storage and would bring them out once economies of scale worked out, Digitimes said.

Production allegedly didn't have a set timetable because Apple was coordinating suppliers for the entire glass-making process, including the changes to the touch panels needed for the new surface. Apple was hoping to get production yields up to the rates it needed for iPhone shipments.

It's not clear how the curved glass would look, though it would presumably look like that on the fourth- and fifth-generation iPod nanos, where the screen is convex and flush with a more rounded body. Apple could also theoretically adopt a concave design like that of the Nexus S. In either case, the aim is to provide a more natural view of the display relative to touch.

Implementing a convex display on a smartphone wouldn't be new. Dell's Venue and Venue Pro both use toughened, curved glass integral to their design.

The accuracy of the claim isn't certain. Production is widely expected to start in July and would have Apple close enough that it might have more concrete plans. Some have pointed to a conservative update where all the improvements are internal. Others, though, have pointed to a much more curved design that would support the idea of a curved glass screen.

by MacNN Staff



  1. stefbystef

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Don't you dare...

    ... changing the design of the iPhone. It is only on year old and has the most beautiful design out there

  1. rajnag

    Joined: Dec 1969


    This doesn't sit right with me

    It might be a visually striking effect to have a 3.5" (or perhaps 4" according to rumours) screen curving in front of you, but would it be practical? If the screen is also the main input for the device (unlike the nano), would this not be distracting or potentially break some input conventions?
    Would all the speedy typists on the iPhones soft keyboard have to relearn where they expect the screen and therefore the keys are meant to be? I would imagine games like Fruit Ninja or Flick Kick Football would suffer without a flat surface on which to interact.
    Just my 2 cents

  1. ccrider

    Joined: Dec 1969



    maybe the curved glass would be only on the back side ala iPhone 3g design, allowing for a more comfortable steve jobs jeans pocket storage.

  1. Inkling

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Breakage more likely?

    It does seem that, because a convex screen sticks out beyond the phone itself, it would be more likely to break if an iPhone falls face down. Creating a case that'd protect from that would require that the case itself be thicker and (for any design I can imagine) probably uglier.

    Also, a finger swiping on a tiny nano screen doesn't travel very far. On a iPhone screen, the curved surface would make smooth and continuous swiping harder.

    Finally, a curved surface would probably mean that, no matter how an iPhone is held, some part of the screen will be reflecting ambient lights. With a flat surface, you can usually find one angle that's reflection-free.

    Given Apple's obsession with creating something new and fashionable every few years, it may be testing the idea. But I'm skeptical they'll adopt it. But then I'd have never thought they'd put breakable glass front and back on the iPhone 4. Design sometimes trumps good sense at Apple.

  1. testudo

    Joined: Dec 1969



    Sounds like Apple. "We need to add a costly feature to the phone to make sure our prices stay high!"

  1. wrenchy

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Headlines should read...

    "Apple said pushing for Nexus S - like curved glass on next iPhone".

    Come on macnn Editards. GET IT RIGHT.

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