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.