touchless curved iPhone screens

Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) has been known for making its gadgets stand out from the crowd with its minimalistic yet sophisticated design. The mighty iPhone X, Apple’s tenth anniversary iPhone, marked the first prominent re-design in iPhones since ever. People embraced it wholly and Apple’s latest flagship became the “world’s top-selling smartphone” in Q4 2017 following its launch. However, it experienced mixed response from the buyers. Apple reportedly sold 29 million units of iPhone X in Q4 2017, but the sales are expected to drop drastically to just 8 million in Q1 2018. Its ridiculously high price tag was one of the biggest reasons for customers to look away. All in all, it failed to meet the wall street expectations.

Although, there’s no way that Apple’s design could be held responsible for ‘less-trending‘ of the iPhone. But, apparently, Apple has taken a cue from there and decided to differentiate in the crowded marketplace with new designs and features that may be introduced in the upcoming iPhone. The Cupertino giant is working on “touchless gesture control” and “curved screens” for future iPhone projects, reports Bloomberg, that may help the company to stay ahead in the consumer tech industry.

The company is also researching on various holographic display features.

The Upcoming Apple iPhone: A Masterpiece?

The “touchless gesture control” feature would let iPhone users perform some tasks by moving their finger close to the screen without actually tapping it. Though it’s unclear yet what would be gained by hovering the finger and not touching the screen. Apple’s latest iPhone models, including iPhone 8, iPhone 8 Plus and iPhone X, have a 3D Touch feature that responds differently to different finger pressures. The proximity of fingers to the screen will be taken into account for this new gesture technology.

This technology would be new for iPhones, definitely if Apple chooses to go forward with it, but not otherwise. Years back, Samsung came up with a similar feature called Air Gesture in its top-end smartphones. A simple wave of a hand across the screen would let the user take calls and flip through web-pages. The Apple’s technology for this feature is not based on some motion sensor on the phone’s bezel which Samsung follows, but it is built into the display seamlessly. Google’s ATAP research group is also working on a similar technology through a program called Project Soli.

Bloomberg said, citing an anonymous source, that Apple is also developing iPhone displays that curve inward gradually from top to bottom. That’s different from most of the latest smartphones – like Samsung – whose screen curve down at the edges. Even iPhone X’s screen is slightly curved at the bottom, but it is almost invisible to human eye.

LG introduced two smartphones with exact same design – inwardly curved screen – a few years back. LG G-Flex, launched in 2013, was the first smartphone with ‘self-healing’ flexible display. However, it was later discarded by the company due to lack of interest among consumers.

Organic Light Emitting Diode displays, aka OLED displays, are flexible and can be shaped into curves or even folded, unlike LCD. The OLED screen in iPhone X is from Samsung but Apple has expanded its sourcing to LG for displays. Other reports suggest that the upcoming larger 6.5″ model’s display stack is to be supplied by LG. The company is also working on launching a lower-cost LCD model of iPhone.

Being dependent for device displays on other companies, who are also in competition, was not at all alluring for Apple. Perhaps that’s why it started developing MicroLEDs in its secret manufacturing facility and it will debut in Apple Watch.

Loyal Apple customers have always a vested interest in the upgrades, be it software or hardware; this has driven Apple to innovate and experiment unceasingly.

Bloomberg notes that both the new features are still in early stage of research and development, and could take a few years time if Apple chooses to go forward with the enhancements.

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