Apple may be developing two larger-sized iPhones replete with curved glass screens and sensors that can detect different levels of pressure, according to a report by Bloomberg News.
The phones will reportedly have 4.7-inch and 5.5-inch screens with curved glass. Both will be considerably larger than the current iPhone 5s, which feature 4-inch screens. The 5.5-inch screen would approach the size of Samsung’s Galaxy Note, which is 5.7 inches.
Curved glass has become a smartphone trend among major tech companies. Samsung released its Galaxy Round phone, which has a 5.7-inch curved display, while LG is set to release its G Flex phone, which is curved from top to bottom, says Mashable.
“There has been quite a bit of talk about the coming wave of curved smartphone screens, however there has not been a lot of talk about what we will be able to do with them,” said technology Industry analyst Jeff Kagan.
“That must be the focus of both the media relations and public relations efforts of companies going forward. Currently there are many more questions than answers.”
The new Apple handsets are still in development and plans haven’t been completed, the person said, adding that the company probably would release them in the third quarter of next year.
“Screen size is one of the things where Apple has to catch up to the Android camp,” Dennis Chan, an analyst at Yuanta Financial Holding Co. in Taipei, said, referring to phones using Google Inc.’s operating software. “Innovation in components has been a key for Apple since the first iPhone came out.”
Apple is also reportedly testing touch sensors that can differentiate between light and heavy touches on the iPhone screen, though that isn’t likely to be ready for the next iPhone release and may be built into later models instead.
As the TechCrunch reports, true pressure sensitivity (currently, some crude extent of that is possible via the iPhone’s accelerometer) would make drawing and handwriting applications on the iPhone and iPad much, much better. Apple could sell the devices as professional-level artistic devices if it introduces those kinds of features, in addition to just making things better for everyday users who want to jot notes and doodle, for example, or perform minor photo touch-ups.
While Apple routinely develops prototype devices that are never released, rumors of an iPhone featuring a significantly larger screen have surfaced occasionally throughout the past couple of months. There have been reports that Apple had begun testing prototype iPhones with screens as large as six inches, and also there was speculation last month that Apple may launch both a 4.7-inch and a 5.7-inch iPhone in 2014.
In April, Apple chief executive Tim Cook dismissed rumours that the company’s upcoming phone, later revealed as the iPhone 5S, would have a larger screen. “My view continues to be that iPhone 5 has the absolute best display in the industry,” he told investors in an earnings call.
But he also left the door open for the company to increase the size in the future, saying that the company’s “competitors have made trade-offs to ship a larger display. We will not ship a larger display iPhone while these trade-offs exist.”