In Brief
  • Rumors about Apple's next iPhone are out.
  • Sources close to Asian suppliers indicate that the next iPhone would feature curved screens, as Apple purchased OLED panels from Samsung Display.

Rumors of Curves

As the 10th anniversary of the iPhone draws near, rumors about the new model are swirling about. In particular, the Cupertino-based tech giant’s purchase of organic light emitting diode (OLED) curved-screen panels from Samsung is fueling rumors about an “iPhone 8” with curved screens coming in September of this year. Samsung actually first introduced functional curved displays into their smartphones back in 2013.

Supply-chain sources say that Apple has ordered the OLED units from Samsung. According to David Hsieh, senior director at research company IHS Markit, in an interview with the Nikkei Asian Review, “Apple has ordered 70 million units of OLED panels from Samsung this year, while Samsung is preparing to churn out as many as 95 million for Apple in 2017, in case demand exceeds expectations.”

Image Credit: Veniamin Geskin
Image Credit: Veniamin Geskin

The DigiTimes, known for sketchy reports on iPhone rumors, made a similar claim. Supposedly, Apple’s made a two-year deal with Samsung Display for small-size curved OLED panels worth KRW10 trillion (roughly $9 billion). This report comes from several Korean-based sources, including ET News and Chosun Biz.

Screens of Tomorrow

Rumors about an iPhone with a curved screen have been around before. There have even been reports about a potential bendable iPhone. However, it’s important to note that these rumors aren’t unique to just Apple. Recently, reports about Google’s Pixel smartphone getting curved screens have also made headlines. Google has, unlike Apple, opted to get its curved OLEDs not from rival Samsung but from LG Display.

The race for curved screens and bendable phones are indicative of the future of screen-based technology. We’re no longer limited to just flat screens. Now, there are even transparent touch-screens and televisions, including a screen that works as an artificially intelligent (AI) assistant.

Our interactions with smart devices won’t be limited to screens in the near future. Already, there are companies working on perfecting hologram displays, augmented and virtual reality (AR/VR) platforms, and even a so-called mixed reality.

Indeed, the screens of the future may be “no-screens” at all.