Report: Future iPhones to Feature Curved Displays, Touchless Controls

Posted on April 4, 2018 by Paul Thurrott in iOS, Mobile with 27 Comments

The Samsung Galaxy S4 featured Air Gestures years ago

With the iPhone X off to a weaker than expected start, Apple has been scrambling to offer better innovations in future devices. As a result, the Apple rumor mill has been working overtime lately. And the latest report says that Apple will follow Samsung by offering curved displays and touchless control on future iPhones.

In the past, these types of reports would have been qualified as mere rumors. But with the chief Apple rumormonger, Mark Gurman, now at Bloomberg, a reputable news source, these stories take on a new air of respectability. It doesn’t hurt that Gurman is usually right, either.

Here’s what’s he’s saying this week.

“Apple is working on touchless gesture control and curved screens for future iPhones,” he writes. “The control feature would let iPhone users perform some tasks by moving their finger close to the screen without actually tapping it … Apple is also developing iPhone displays that curve inward gradually from top to bottom … So far, every iPhone model has used a flat display.”

Both of these innovations are already available in Samsung flagships, of course. But then Apple has as rich a history copying Samsung now as is the case with the reverse. Last year’s iPhone X borrows the tall, near-bezel-less design that Samsung championed two years earlier. (Though Apple’s “all-screen” design is far less successful than Samsung’s.) The iPhone X was also among the first iPhones to feature wireless charging, a feature that’s been available in Android handsets for years.

Apple often moves slowly to adopt new technologies. But the issue for the firm this time around is that the iPhone X has been a lot less successful than the company had hopes. Apple didn’t meet its internal sales goals for the device and has already cut component shipments from suppliers twice as a result.

These two features will not arrive in this year’s iPhones. In fact, at least one of them could be at least two years away from shipping. In the meantime, Apple will evolve the technologies it delivered first in the iPhone X, and it will offer more display size and pricing options too.

 

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Comments (28)

28 responses to “Report: Future iPhones to Feature Curved Displays, Touchless Controls”

  1. Bats

    The question, I have is .... why would anyone need to control their phone without touching it? Even if Apple was successful in copying this Samsung first, what would be the point? I've tried this with the Galaxy phone in the past and I have shown others how to do it, but it's hard to see people doing this "kinect-thing" on a frequent basis.

  2. mattbg

    I get that curved screens are the thing to do to look current but why is this desirable?


    Knowing where my content ends is a good thing and there’s a massive bezel around every phone called the real world that I’d like to see mediated.

  3. jecouch66

    Can't stand the curved screens, I hope they offer a model without it if they do go this route.

  4. GT Tecolotecreek

    "But the issue for the firm this time around is that the iPhone X has been a lot less successful than the company had hopes. Apple didn’t meet its internal sales goals for the device and has already cut component shipments from suppliers twice as a result.


    Please provide verifiable sources for this comments as the CEO has public stated it has been their best selling phone since there first day of introduction. Or are you just continuing to spout unverified rumors that support your biased position.

    • jbinaz

      In reply to GT_Tecolotecreek:

      Well, my guess is that he can't reveal the source in regard to falling short of internal sales goals, because they're internal and he'd possibly burn his source. That never works out well for someone reporting news because you'll never get tipped again.


      Google "iphone x sales" and pretty much every article discusses how Apple hasn't sold as many as expected. I suspect that's more the truth than whatever spin their CEO puts on it. All you're doing is quoting what the CEO has publicly stated - do you have any actual sales numbers to verify what the CEO said? Or is that just another "unverified rumor"?


      • jimchamplin

        In reply to jbinaz:

        Didn’t sell as many as who expected?

      • GT Tecolotecreek

        In reply to jbinaz:

        Who are you kidding, Paul T. doesn't have any sources in Apple. He can't even get demo units for eval. Your "Google iPhone sales" is just the same unconfirmed rumors repeated again and again by different bloggers. The actual quote came from the earning call: Apple CEO Tim Cook said that the iPhone X has "surpassed our expectations" and has been the "top selling iPhone" every week since it shipped in November. That is a verified fact, "surpassed our expectations", from the head of a public corporation, not a multi-repeated rumor from bloggers.

  5. Daekar

    So... if there was one thing I would change about the new Galaxy phones it's the damn curved screen. It's not necessary, improves the function of nothing, and results in significantly worse durability. I love my S7 because it's the last Galaxy with a flat screen.


    I really don't understand why you'd want the curve. At all.

  6. skane2600

    I think any experienced theremin player would find a touchless interface quite natural.

    • MikeGalos

      In reply to skane2600:

      As a Moog Theremini player, I thank you for pointing out how a touchless interface is not only quite natural but has been around as a UI for 90 years.

      • skane2600

        In reply to MikeGalos:

        Somehow I don't think you're representative of the average smartphone user. Just a hunch :)


        I always thought it would be interesting to augment a theremin by adding a virtual transparent "keyboard" that would allow you to "pick" the notes you want to hit. But I guess the Theremini makes it less useful since it can quantize the notes which makes them easier to select.

  7. Chris_Kez

    I would take this with a grain of salt. I don't doubt that Gurman has solid sources, but there is a difference between what Apple is "working on" and what they will eventually ship. They are working on lots of things all the time. Probably anything we could reasonably have thought of, they have tested-- different screen sizes and shapes, materials, control schemes, camera layouts, etc. At one point they were working on a car, and before that they were working on a literal television set.

    The other thing I would keep in mind, before we rush to judgement, is that with something like "touchless gesture" Apple probably has something particular in mind and it probably isn't just a 1:1 replacement for touch. There will be some capability or use case they're trying to implement. Look at NFC as an example. This was a widely available hardware spec with a range of uses. Apple ignored it for years until it was time for Apple Pay.

    • chrisrut

      I agree. It's likely they have evolved a model, a hopefully intuitive design, against which they are building, as well as evolving. That would be interesting.


  8. Jeff.Bane

     Apple has been scrambling to offer better innovations in future devices” - how about a decent fingerprint reader instead of terrible Face ID......

  9. red.radar

    Speaking of gimmick features that don't improve productivity.... Its not just Microsoft struggling here.



  10. Chris Payne

    "the iPhone X has been a lot less successful than the company had hopes"


    That's a complete rumor and hasn't been backed up by anything I'd consider credible. Funny how most articles on Apple in the past few years have been couched with "Apple HAS to do X because they are losing/dying," but then quarterly results come out and they STILL blow it away.


    I'm hardly an Apple apologist, but I like facts with my news.

    • MikeGalos

      In reply to unkinected:

      And the iPhone X's failure will remain a "rumor" in Apple fan's minds until Apple officially announces it failed.


      That announcement will happen right after they get around to admitting the 20th Anniversary Macintosh failed or the Power Mac G4 Cube failed. But, seeing that it's been decades for those and we still haven't seen an official statement from Apple of those "rumored" failures I have to suspect, in some minds, pretending facts are just a rumor is a lifelong state they're happy to maintain.

      • PincasX

        In reply to MikeGalos:

        Ahhhh ha ha.....


        From a guy that made up a faked HomePod demo this is pretty rich. Of course you have bought into the "iPhone X is a failure" rumor. You have no grasp on reality and will make up fabrications as long as they fit the narrative you want to believe. You are the master of pretending when it comes to facts.

    • jdawgnoonan

      In reply to unkinected:

      I concur with what you said. Also, I still want to add, I stopped using Samsung devices namely because of the curved screens. Apple's iPhone X form factor is far superior to the curved Samsung screens in my opinion. LG's phones have superior design as well. Paul likely knows this too, but being anti Apple pays his bills. The funny thing is to look back at the things Paul wrote about the iPhone and iPad before he went all in with Google.

  11. beckerrt

    Sounds like something else that normals just won't care about. Curved screen, yes. But touchless controls? Eh. Apple has really turned into a "me-too" company these past few years.

  12. fishnet37222

    My motto is "if it ain't broke, don't fix it". The UX on the iPhone 8 works just fine. There's no need to go changing it.

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