It was going to be the most radical part of the major iPhone 8 redesign, but following a report earlier in the week a double leak today suggests Apple AAPL +0.15% is scrapping its plans for a heavily curved OLED display…
First out the gate is Nikkei. The widely respected Japanese publication says that while Apple will add a slight curve to the iPhone 8, it won’t be similar to the ‘Edge’ displays delivered by Samsung Galaxy smartphones in recent years and will provide no additional functionality.
“The curve will be gentler than screens in Samsung’s Galaxy S7 Edge handsets. This is partly due to the challenges of making curved glass covers to match screens, according to the source,” said Nikkei staff writer Debby Wu. “While the curved screen will allow a viewable area of about 5.2 inches and make the iPhone even sleeker, it will not offer significant new functions, the person said.”
Expanding upon this is the historically reliable MacRumors which agrees with Nikkei: “MacRumors has confirmed the [Nikkei] report refers to a display that is slightly curved at the edges below 2.5D cover glass, meaning the display itself cannot be dramatically curved.”
It explains that the 5.8-inch OLED panel (with 5.2-inch usable area) “will be flat across the front of the smartphone, and slightly curved along the left and right edges to conform with the layer of 2.5D glass that covers the display, according to multiple people familiar with the matter.”
MacRumor’s writer Joe Rossignol says the initial confusion over a heavily curved iPhone 8 display comes from Apple testing multiple display prototypes based on flexible substrates, but had decided to scale back on its initial hopes of adding significant curves.
What To Think
There is no denying this news will disappoint those hoping Apple was going to dramatically shake up iPhone design in 2017, but as I have argued before I actually think this is a good thing.
A heavily curved device looks brilliant, but it compromises structural integrity, warps the user interface over the sides and leads to innumerable accidental touches – especially when holding a phone in one hand. In fact the latest Galaxy S8 image leaks suggest Samsung will also reduce the curve from the Galaxy S7 for similar reasons.
For those still holding onto hope that Apple will prove everyone wrong and produce an iPhone 8 that looks like some of the more outlandish renders you’ll find around the Internet, well time is still on Apple’s side to switch things up.
That said, it is rare for multiple sources to be on the same pages so early and Apple has never been afraid to let potentially disappointing news out early so users are ‘Over It’ by the time Tim Cook is standing on stage.