Why a curved-screen iPhone is a great idea

“Earlier this week a Bloomberg report suggested Apple was working on – or at least considering – a curved screen iPhone,” Napier Lopez writes for TNW. “Unlike Samsung’s phones, which curve down on the sides, this theoretical iPhone would curve inwards, like a banana.”

“This is a great idea,” Lopez writes. “Apple would be far from the first to use such a curve, but since the tech has fallen out of favor in smartphones, it’s a good time to bring it back.”

“A curved screen is less likely to scratch and more likely to survive a bad drop than a flat screen,” Lopez writes. “A banana-shaped iPhone would also help ensure you won’t drop your phone in the first place. The curve would fit the contours of your hand better, for one.”

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: As is readily apparent with any iPhone Plus, the flatness is notable. A slight curve would fit better in pants pockets, too!

Also as we wrote earlier today, “Meaningful screen curvatures (to fit your face) would also first come from Apple, as opposed to gimmicky “look what we can do for no good reason” curved screens from the iPhone knockoff peddlers.”

SEE ALSO:
Apple reportedly prepping game-changing technologies and features for future iPhones – April 6, 2018
Apple working on touchless gesture control and curved displays for future iPhones – April 4, 2018
Apple prepping Micro-LED displays for Apple Watch and Smartglasses for 2019, sources say – April 3, 2018

75 Comments

    1. Does the “Edge” curve slightly from top to bottom? No it does not, so why would they call it something it isn’t and doesn’t do?

      Meaningful screen curvatures (to fit your face) would also first come from Apple, as opposed to gimmicky “look what we can do for no good reason” curved screens from the iPhone knockoff peddlers. – MDN

          1. But my facts are solid, and when told …

            Meaningful screen curvatures (to fit your face) would also first come from Apple, as opposed to gimmicky “look what we can do for no good reason” curved screens from the iPhone knockoff peddlers. – MDN

            as a point to prove me wrong, when I am in fact right, sarcasm is highly warranted. One yardstick!

          1. @Xennex “What Apple might claim instead, should a concept released earlier be implemented by them that ‘fails’ for others and sells well for them, is “First to get it right”. Can we agree with that?”

            What I’m saying/asking is why does first matter to anyone but trolls and fanboys? Apple can rightly claim a better implementation as a first even if a concept existed previously. Using concept as the yardstick no one is first with anything. Also, arguing that Company A or B can’t claim credit for a feature if they didn’t build every bit of it from scratch on their own is another fanboy/troll argument. Using those arguments a chef never gets credit for a new take on a delicious meal. I think we can agree that makes no sense.

            1. “curved screens from the iPhone knockoff peddlers. – MDN”

              Notice the word “knockoff”…?

              “scratch on their own is another fanboy/troll argument. ”

              So MDN is fanboy/troll?

              And yes, the enabling technology should get the credit for what it enables. The commercial technology for what it commercializes.

              The sportscaster does not score the goal!

            2. There is a difference between Apple saying they’re “the first to implement a facial recognition feature” and “the first to implement a facial recognition feature using infra-red dots”. All I’m saying is that many times when Apple is reported to be “First” it really means in a much narrower context than it is generally being presented.

        1. Apple hasn’t been working on many different form factors for many years (including curved screens) you are truly naive. First to market doesn’t mean much. Other companies release experimental designs and put out press releases about stuff in the lab. Apple doesn’t. That’s all it is. Apple waits until there is a practical use for implementing a new feature or concept. This gives the appearance of Apple being late with feature A or feature B when the truth is Apple was working on feature A or feature B at the same time as others. Apple has the luxury of not having to rush to market to compete in the cutthroat slim profit Android world.

            1. angry that anyone would think Apple did curved screens first. They may have. We don’t know. Apple keeps prototype designs secret. Most of us remember the 20th Anniversary Mac in 1997 which was slightly curved as part of its product design. Apple has been playing with organic forms for a long long time.

              If Apple does make an iPhone with a curved screen it is a safe bet that there will be a good functional reason behind it. Even you have to admit that in the world of Android OEMs a lot of new features are a bit gimmicky to help one company gain a sales advantage over another. Throwing stuff at a wall and seeing what sticks is one of things I like about Android. However, the result is often features that aren’t ready, don’t work that well, or are gimmicky.

              Apple waits until they can add value to a product. They don’t have a perfect track record but their record is very good. Waiting doesn’t mean Apple is copying or following anyone. It just means they are waiting.

            2. Just admit that if it’s a good idea for Apple to do so now, that it was a good idea, for all the same reasons, for LG to have done so then. Not claiming epiphany for LG, just duplicity from Apple.

            3. Btw… Apple did make a heck of a fuss around then over rounded corners. This is more innovative than rounded corners, as well as more distinctive. Thank goodness Apple didn’t do it first.

            4. We don’t even know if Apple will do a curved screen in a shipping product. Now you’re assuming if they do they will what, lie about having done it first? I’ve never heard Apple claim that. Apple is good at improving features and making them popular and bringing them to the mainstream which I suppose is mistaken for being first and it sorta is being first by making something better. That upsets you?

              The LG Flex was is? an experiment that didn’t go so well. The screen had lots of problems. If Apple does something similar you can count on them solving those issues before shipping a product. Cosmetically Apple’s curved screen may look the same but technically it will be very different. That means an Apple curved screen can’t be a good idea for all the same reasons. The LG Flex failed because it wasn’t implemented well. If Apple does the exact same thing their product will also fail. Apple will solve the technical problems first and then release a product. LG chose to release a not very good screen just to release a curved screen product. That’s life in the super competitive thin margin Android world. The saying “a better mousetrap” exists for a reason. The better mousetrap is not first conceptually but it is first in a practical way. If concept is your yardstick then nothing in the modern era can ever be first.

            5. No, I was replying to MDN and other readers using MDN’s quote. According to the quote it only seems that it’s a good idea if Apple does it. If it’s a good idea if Apple does it it, then it’s a good idea when LG actually did it. For fans of a company that defend rounded corners, I would expect more objectivity…

              As for you… get a clue and come to the subject.

            6. “If it’s a good idea if Apple does it it, then it’s a good idea when LG actually did it.”

              A poor implementation that gives the user a poor quality screen isn’t a good idea. Two people can implement the same concept and one can be a good idea and the other a bad idea.

              What you mean is the concept is a good idea but even then it is only a good idea if it is done right. The LG Flex was not done right it was very poor and it failed.

              If a concept exists and a hundred companies ship a product based on that concept and they are all terrible then the company that does it right and ships a good product does get to say they were first in that sense.

              By your yardstick of concept nothing is ever first in the modern era because all concepts have been thought of. Many concepts have not been implemented well but the concepts exist so no one is first ever again with anything. I’m fine with that by the way. I don’t get why internet trolls are so concerned with who is first.

            7. Screen quality is irrelevant to the point. MDN did not say “OLED technology has improved to the point where Apple will now consider a curved screen”. To your point, it’s not Apple’s progress in OLED anyway. I guess the Flex3 or it’s siblings will be so much better than the past too….

            8. in screen technology that matters. Apple engineers design the tech specifications and they work with a supplier to manufacture a custom screen. The iPhone X screen is not an off the shelf OLED screen. Apple also tunes its software to manage the display. Apple is not just placing an order for a screen. They are working with suppliers to do new and unique things with screens.

              “Screen quality is irrelevant to the point.”

              The quality of the implementation is relevant. That is the difference between a good idea and a bad idea. The LG Flex was a bad idea. Any future curved screen smartphone that doesn’t solve the problems that device had will also be a bad idea. The implementation is the important part.

              Where we agree is that the concept is not new and that nobody can ever be first with anything when we use concept as our yardstick. If we use real products as the yardstick then someone can still be first when it comes to curved screen smartphones. I’m not sure why first matters though. I haven’t heard a good non fanboy explanation for why first matters.

            9. Does Apple own the OLED Chemistry, and manufacturing means to do it? Can only Apple do it? I guess we’re just going to have to wait and see, because Apple does not play there. Maybe they’ll buy someone.

              One think is certain. If MDN and some readers, yourself included, are already calling it better than what a contemporary competitor can do (and has already done) I can already see it where the competitor is doing the copying. Even if they are a screen maker.

            10. This seems to be a matter of semantics, Apple cannot claim to be ‘First’ if they keep things hidden. If we go by Patent Law, the first to file is the one awarded with the patent. What Apple might claim instead, should a concept released earlier be implemented by them that ‘fails’ for others and sells well for them, is “First to get it right”. Can we agree with that?

            11. I’m just saying that Apple can claim to be ‘first’ but only in “Successful implementation” should they also be the first to sell well. The claim for the single term “First” should be ‘awarded’ to the one who released a non-prototype with that concept regardless of sales. Those companies have taken a risk to put out a realized version of a new idea to the general public and are deserving of recognition.

              The problem is that many claims of Apple being “First” is simply reporters being too lazy to write out “First SUCCESSFUL implementation” or lack of research.

              Applecynic, I understand that broader technologies like OLEDs are not Apple inventions nor is Apple to the first to implement them. I’ll give them “First OLED in an iOS device”.

              ‘IP’ assumes a patent and is the protection of an expression of an idea and not necessarily the protection of each of the individual parts that make up the functional realization of that idea. In Apple’s case the IP for the display and controller design might be Apple, the actual manufacturing process could be Samsung/LG.

            12. Hi Xennex1170, please understand that I’m not only speaking to you but to the broader reader as well.

              First on an iOS device would be fine. It’s truthful and not exaggerated to be something more profound than it need be. We could certainly wait for such a thing to launch and evaluate it on it’s merits. And give credit at that time to where credit is due.

              Regarding IP, I believe you do understand what it is. What I mean though is that IP ownership will decide who gets to use the improvements that would make the “first successful” implementation. I highly doubt Apple will be the only company with a screen that’s competitive…

              My objection here is with the narrative.

            13. for a non fanboy/troll explanation for why first matters.

              “So MDN is fanboy/troll?”

              Yes. That’s the entire purpose of this website. It is mostly a troll hangout. That is why you are here and why you comment so much.

              “the enabling technology should get the credit for what it enables. The commercial technology for what it commercializes.”

              Two companies can take the same enabling technology and customize it and one product will be bad and one product will be good. How does that happen? The mistake you are making is assuming there is no meaningful difference in the implementation of enabling technologies. The implementation is the important part.

              “The sportscaster does not score the goal!”

              Bad analogy. In this case it’s the quarterback or coaching staff or the defense getting credit for the win even though they didn’t make the catch that scored the touchdown or the kick that scored the field goal. A sportscaster isn’t a participant in the game. Apple is a participant in the game.

              Apple does get to take credit for a better implementation. Xennex is right. That is the definition of innovation if we move away from the simpleton’s definition of any new idea being innovation. Innovation must be realized/implemented.

            14. Considering that one company launched a technology years ago, and will likely also have the same improved technology available to them, it’s way too premature to declare Apple the “better”, “worse”, or the “same”. You seem to magically already know and actually you highlight my objection as to the narrative.

              My analogy is on in the sense that Apple does not make screens just as the announcer does not make plays. They both bring the outcome to the world.

            15. mistake by assuming Apple isn’t involved in the technical implementation of the enabling technology in ways that improve it or make it unique in some way.

              “will likely also have the same improved technology available to them, it’s way too premature to declare Apple the “better”, “worse”, or the “same”.”

              Having the same enabling technology available is only part of the work that needs to be done. Apple then adds other layers of technology and also gets involved in the creation of the enabling technology with custom specifications. The iPhone X OLED screen isn’t available to any other OEM. Apple customized the enabling technology which resulted in a better implementation. I’m not sure what is so hard to understand about that but you don’t seem to get it.

              I’m making a prediction based on Apple’s track record. Apple routinely creates a better implementation with better engineering and design. That’s what Apple does.

              “My analogy is on in the sense that Apple does not make screens just as the announcer does not make plays. They both bring the outcome to the world.”

              Your analogy fails because Apple is involved in the creation of the screens. Apple does not just bring an outcome to the world. Apple gets involved and participates both in engineering and design and final implementation. Your analogy only works if Apple is slapping off the shelf parts together to make their products. Do you think that is what Apple does? If you do just google a bit it’s easy to find out that is false.

            16. You keep making the same mistake where the is no product yet to speak of, and whether Apple’s involvement is substantive or better than others. Let’s discuss when all companies have the right idea (or not) over their predecessor products and versus each other.

              Until then there is nothing to discuss. I remind you, my criticism was over comments of a non existent Apple product being the model of knockoffs. It Apple that would be knocking off the feature, possibly with improvements.

            17. “It Apple that would be knocking off the feature, possibly with improvements.”

              I think you forgot that Apple has already been working on curved devices, dating back to the 20th Anniversary Mac in 1997. Apple has curved screen devices in their labs probably for many years already. Apple just keeps things secret while other companies release products that aren’t ready for prime time. The LG Flex is a good example of that. Apple probably had a similar device in their labs and decided it wasn’t close to being ready.

              Apple has a patent for curved battery design from 2011 which means they were working on the idea long before that. You seem to think Apple isn’t doing anything in their labs and only takes a year to make a new product start to finish.

              “You keep making the same mistake where the is no product yet to speak of, and whether Apple’s involvement is substantive or better than others.”

              I’m not making any mistake. I’m making a prediction based on Apple’s history of continually offering a better implementation. It would be an outlier if Apple suddenly didn’t come out with a better implementation. It could happen but it is against the odds.

              “Let’s discuss when all companies have the right idea (or not) over their predecessor products and versus each other.”

              Do you mean let’s discuss the issue after Apple comes out with a better implementation and shows other companies how to do it and then other companies do that and then we discuss how everyone has the same feature now?

            18. Should Apple come out with the better implementation… Should… They haven’t yet, thus making all your comments plain conjecture, also known as bullshit and having nothing to do with what I’ve been posting in this thread.

              Something can’t be a knockoff of Apple if Apple hasn’t done it yet. I know that chronological logic escapes you, but that’s the point.

            19. “Something can’t be a knockoff of Apple if Apple hasn’t done it yet.”

              A new/better implementation can be knocked off. The iPhone was a new/better implementation and now all phones are like the iPhone. TouchID was a new/better implementation and that helped improve everyone’s fingerprint features.

              I’m not obsessed with who is first like trolls and fanboys so I don’t mind if Android OEMs take ideas from Apple or the other way around. If any company does a new/better implementation they should get credit for that. That means Apple too. It doesn’t matter if the concept existed previously. A new/better implementation counts as innovation.

              “Should Apple come out with the better implementation… Should… They haven’t yet, thus making all your comments plain conjecture, also known as bullshit”

              It’s not plain conjecture or BS. It is a reasonable prediction. It’s like me saying Sidney Crosby will probably score over 30 goals next season because he normally does that. Or I could predict that a Toyota is going to last longer than a Dodge based on historical evidence.

              I would have thought you know the difference between a reasonable prediction based on evidence and BS.

            20. Pre-existing things get knocked off. Apple hasn’t done it yet, it could be argued they are doing the copying if they do a curved phone. Get your timing straight. Other’s cannot possibly knock off Apple for something Apple never shipped.

            21. “Pre-existing things get knocked off. Apple hasn’t done it yet, it could be argued they are doing the copying if they do a curved phone. Get your timing straight. Other’s cannot possibly knock off Apple for something Apple never shipped.”

              Apple has done a curved screen. You just haven’t seen it because they keep prototypes and new designs secret. Did you already forget that Apple has a patent for curved/flexible batters from 2011? That means they were working on curved screens/devices years before that already. The 1997 20th Anniversary Mac was slightly curved. That’s 21 years ago.

              If Apple ships a curved screen product it will likely be a new/better implementation and that is what others will look at and use to improve their own products.

              “Your gambling problem is none of my concern… Should Crosby… What if he breaks a leg dummy?”

              You don’t seem to understand the difference between a prediction based on evidence and BS/gambling. Anything could happen but there is a high probability that Sidney Crosby will score more than 30 goals next season. Gambling has a low probability of working out in your favor. It is not the same thing. In fact it would be you that is gambling (low probability) if your prediction is that Sidney Crosby will break his leg and not be able to play next season. Understand the difference now?

            22. Apple’s patent is about shaping batteries to fit curved or odd shapes inside devices. I must have been dreaming about it though because according to you if a product isn’t for sale on a retail shelf it doesn’t exist. Doesn’t matter if we find out Apple had a functional curved screen device in the lab 7 or 8 years ago. It did not exist. It was a dream. Because it wasn’t for sale. That was your lame joke about timing right?

            23. No sir, a patent is about disclosure and actually having reduced to practice. So if there’s a curved battery patent, I accept it’s legitimacy. Keep in mind that it’s likely a very narrow focused legitimacy, since curved batteries always existed.

              The topic was curved screens however.

            24. curved devices and screens. I’m trying to get it through your thick head that Apple and other companies have been working on curved screen devices for many years. When you see the LG Flex on sale in a store in 2013 that tells you absolutely nothing about who was working on the concept first. All it tells you is that LG decided to rush a poor product to market.

              “since curved batteries always existed”

              No. What you are talking about, if I can trust that you looked at the illustration you posted, is batteries that are rigid cylinders.

            25. Get it through your thick hear that a curved iPhone’s curvature can’t be knocked off as a feature! It’s – been – done by other’s already. Whatever your imaginary Apple R&D is happening in your head may or may not be true. It may or may not be better, but what it can’t be is knocked off for curvature!

            26. but that is to be expected. You hear what you want to hear. You are not interested in listening to anyone but yourself. I never once said the curvature was unique or that Apple was first with that. I said based on historical evidence it was likely that Apple would create a new/better implementation of a curved screen if they do come out with a curved screen product.

            27. No, you want to discuss your fantasy land of what Apple might be up to in their R&D department. I have no desire, neither did I bring it up. I can be patient enough to wait for them to release their wares, then judge them in context.

              “I never once said the curvature was unique or that Apple was first with that. ”

              Correct, you said Apple’s non-existent curved phones are better. Existence in your head is not existence in the real world. Existence as a prototype, that hasn’t been judged or evaluated is not better either. See, there may be Crosby, but there’s also Kane.

              I said Apple can’t be first, which is a requirement in order to be knocked off, which was an MDN (and other’s) comment. Talk about dense!

            28. “you said Apple’s non-existent curved phones are better.”

              No. That is not what I said. You only hear what you want to hear. There isn’t much point in having a conversation when you fail to listen or act in a civil manner.

            29. Delusional if you think that’s not what you said….
              Listen to yourself at least.

              “A poor implementation that gives the user a poor quality screen isn’t a good idea. Two people can implement the same concept and one can be a good idea and the other a bad idea.”

              “Apple does get to take credit for a better implementation. Xennex is right. That is the definition of innovation if we move away from the simpleton’s definition of any new idea being innovation. Innovation must be realized/implemented.”

              “Do you mean let’s discuss the issue after Apple comes out with a better implementation and shows other companies how to do it and then other companies do that and then we discuss how everyone has the same feature now?”

              “It’s not plain conjecture or BS. It is a reasonable prediction. It’s like me saying Sidney Crosby will probably score over 30 goals next season because he normally does that. Or I could predict that a Toyota is going to last longer than a Dodge based on historical evidence.”

              “Apple has done a curved screen. You just haven’t seen it because they keep prototypes and new designs secret. Did you already forget that Apple has a patent for curved/flexible batters from 2011? That means they were working on curved screens/devices years before that already. The 1997 20th Anniversary Mac was slightly curved. That’s 21 years ago.”

        1. If you were truly ignoring Sean you wouldn’t have replied. Trolls can’t resist replying. Not replying eats at you. It tears you up inside. You couldn’t ignore a comment if your life depended on it.

            1. Yes I have won and been proven right 4 times now. You have proven you can count and that you cannot ignore comments even after you say you will ignore them. You have proven yourself a liar now also. Winning 4 times is enough for me. Thank you.

  1. How am I going to carry my curved iPhone around with me?

    This issue is going to sort itself out. So, I’ll just watch rather than argue about it. The subject: Practicality.

    Meanwhile, this sort of form factor already accomplishes similar results:

      1. HehHehHeh. There are loads of concept images of bending smart phones. It’s fun to play with tech ideas. But again the question comes down to practicality.

        For example, I’m very leery of the viability of a bending screen. Try folding a piece of paper back and forth over and over and you get an idea of the problem with repeated bending. Then there’s that stretching of the screen around a wide bend or crushing of the screen around a sharp bend. The practical benefit from bending this stuff is what?

        But that’s what R&D is for. Make it, break it, move on to the next iteration and idea…. Witness trashcan Mac Pro. Oops. Then consider the length of time it’s taking Apple to come up with a superior replacement. 2019?!

        1. I agree that sharp bends in flexible screens are very hard to prevent early material fatigue. Samsung and LG have both spent many years going the ‘other’ way with bendable devices with the screen on the outer surface. Lots of patents for the display and the hinges required for the structural support too. Some concept devices showed smartphone like devices that can be ‘folded’ around a wrist like a bracelet or a smartphone format device that folds out to become a small tablet with the OS adjusting the display contents like icons and images accordingly.

            1. As devices get thinner, I’m imagining the ‘bracelet’ version becoming similar to those popular slap-stick bracelets that look like tongue depressors when straigntened. The tablet one, though interesting may have to get far thinner before it becomes practical, say < 1cm when folded.

  2. For a old fart like me, having an iPhone shaped like a banana in my pants pockets would do wonders for my image.

    Is that a iPhone in your pocket or are you happy to see me?

      1. The hilarious conceit of the Cone of Silence was that it never ever worked.. with Get Smart, the Cold War was never cooler, although I Spy and The Man from U.N.C.L.E. came close. Maxwell Smart, Maxwell’s Silver Hammer, Maxwell’s Equations.. I was always mixing them up in my head when taking exams in college.

  3. You know what would be a good idea? How about actual innovation that doesn’t result in a fragile glass back! Everyone has seen the shattered screens on phones, why double the likelihood of catastrophic failure by making the back glass as well? To cash in on clunky overpriced phone cases?

    If you absolutely must push inefficient and expensive wireless charging, Apple, then how about charging through the screen, allowing the back of the phone to return to a robust curved metal design like all the first three generations of iPhones? See all that space for enlarged battery you could have? Comfy in hand too! What a concept!

    Also: losing the analog headphone jack was a mistake. Admit your mistake and bring it back.

    Finally: edge to edge display is beyond overrated. Everyone has to put their fragile phones in cases anyway. A full surround bezel is not a bad thing.

    1. I suppose Apple could have used the same material the Moto Z2 Force did on both front and back since that phone was said to be ‘shatterproof’.

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