RUMOR: Apple to debut first curved-glass Multi-Touch Retina display with iPhone 5

“Apple is going to adopt a curved cover glass for its next generation model, according to industry sources,” Yenting Chen and Steve Shen report for DigiTimes.

“In order to push forward the production of curved glass, Apple reportedly has purchased 200-300 glass cutting machines to be used by glass makers, said the sources,” Chen and Shen report. “The glass slicing machines are currently being stored at associated assembly plants and will be brought online once yield rates for the production of curved glass reaches a satisfactory level, the sources revealed.”

Chen and Shen report, “There has been no timetable yet for the volume production of iPhone 5.”

Read more in the full article here.

[Thanks to MacDailyNews Reader “Judge Bork” for the heads up.]

30 Comments

  1. I don’t understand why they would do this to the display. I understand the back glass but it makes no sense to put a distorted curved glass display on the front. Can someone explain what good this would do?

    1. Don’t know for sure, but I think it would be an easier, safer way to grip the phone – the fingers are designed to wrap around objects (let’s keep our thoughts above the belt buckle, please).

      Depending on the arc of the curve, it ought not to distort the visual field.

    2. Maybe only the back glass panel will be uyrved:). On the other handt, rumor also has it that the back will be in aluminum. So what will it be?

  2. I think they should get rid of the home button completely. Make the bottom bezel of the phone always touch sensitive and use a swipe along the bottom to return you to home. This way you turn the phone on by swiping, also — a single action — rather than push button, then swipe.

    1. A mechanical button is a better design approach than a gesture to turn the phone on/off. There is no doubt in the user’s mind how to get there as opposed to a swiping motion which can be diagonal, up-down, down-up, left-right and other combinations.

      A soft button would also be subject to false positives in that the user by touching it could trigger an unintended action to bring the app back to the home screen. There needs to be an aspect of positive feedback so the user knows an action is confirmatory.

      1. Speaking of a mechanical button, I was thinking yesterday how useful it would be if Apple would add ONE BUTTON MORE — a multipurpose button for apps to use.

        It could be the shutter button for the camera app, the start/stop recording button for voice memos (which you could then use even when the phone screen was off), play/pause for iPod.

        Granted, it wouldn’t be used by most apps, but every once in a while having a physical button (as you suggest in your post above) is a better design choice.

        1. The Zen of Apple states that all extraneous buttons must be done away with leaving that which cannot be disposed of without destroying user interaction.

          There have been apps removed from the app store that bring up contextual use of the volume button to trigger the shutter when in camera mode but Apple wanted it all to be screen based. 

          There are pros & cons to this approach. Apple’s thinking is that user focus should be on contextual onscreen menus which is why to this day Steve Jobs will not approve of a hardware keyboard.

          1. The camera’s a great example, though, Since you can’t feel for the button you have to be just as concerned about where the button is and whether you’re pushing it as you are on composing your shot. A physical button tells your finger, “You’re on it”, and let’s you put all your attention on composition.

            Besides the fact that I’d love to use the voice memo function a lot more at work, but turning on the phone, swiping the screen, putting in my code, hunting for the record button and hitting it doesn’t work (trust me) in my field. Getting the app ready ahead of time and just clicking a physical button to start recording would be great.

            I totally get your point. They’re probably right in some way that I don’t understand. Still, my unstudied opinion is that a multi-purpose physical button would usefully extend the functionality of the device.

            1. Apple strips away functionality in a way that even I disagree with, sacrificing form over function, in that considerations such as aesthetics and simplifying user interface to the absolute minimum often outweighs convenience. There are many other examples besides yours but if it doesn’t conform to Steve’s vision, it gets thrown out. Logic has no part to play in it.

    2. Okay, this will likely make you think, “yeah right,” but here goes:

      I really did talk to a salesman the other day who had been selling a product to a regional Apple guy. He was told that the home button would serve as a fingerprint reader for added security on the next iPhone. Sounds plausible, but I guess we’ll just have to wait and see. If it turns out to be true, remember you heard it here first!

  3. Since this is just a rumor, maybe it’s not quiet right…. how about a curved metallic glass back similar to 3GS made out of the material Apple signed exclusive rights to not so long ago. I’m not so sure about a curved display… would it be as good for video ? Just guessing, kinda like a rumor.

  4. I sure hope the rim and back will remain straight. Curves there would truly suck with apps that measure angles and surfaces (science, education, mechanics,
    …)

  5. This is the next round in Bullshit bingo. But this rumors keep people busy so nobody asks the more important question: Why should Apple throw away their very successful timetable and delay iPhone 5 to the most busy holiday season?
    Only because of iOS 5? They could release the new hardware with a new iOS 4 version the same way they did it with iPad 2.
    Otherwise iPhone sales numbers would collapse in the 3rd quarter and Apple has no chance to keep up with demand in the 4th quarter. They right timing is more important than a curved glass oder a bigger display.

  6. Another dumb rumor. What happened to the one about the tapered thickness and “edge-to-edge” screen? They can’t all be true, so perhaps ALL are not true.

    It is very likely that “iPhone 5” will physically resemble iPhone 4. iPhone 4 was a major overhaul. The major improvement this time will be dual-core A5 in place of A4. The other significant change may be having ONE iPhone model that works on both Verizon and AT&T (the “world phone”).

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