Apple's weird iPhone plan: No new design this fall, but huge 5.8-in, curved 2017 model

iPhone Apple 2017
Credit: Apple, Inc.

Next major Apple iPhone redesign said to be curvy, with an even bigger screen. Sir Jony of Ive pushes out the date to 2017, because OLED.

Apple iPhone rumors got crazier at the weekend, thanks to our (ahem) favorite analyst. Ming-Chi Kuo says the next real design change for Tim's pomaceous shiny will be next year, surprising but not delighting Apple fans hoping for a big 'iPhone 7' launch in September.

[Developing story. Updated 2:18 pm and 8:02 am PT with yet more blather.]

The KGI sage predicts: curved glass, OLED, wireless charging, and biometrics. So don't expect much churn in 2016. Will Tim announce the iPhone 6SS in six months? After all, it isn't just Intel that can dump the "tick-tock" schedule.

In IT Blogwatch, bloggers monger rumors far earlier than normal. curated these bloggy bits for your entertainment, edification and enlightenment. Not to mention: Are We Looking for Aliens in the Wrong Place?..


What's the craic? Mikey Campbell soups it up: [You're fired -Ed.]

Apple has plans to introduce a new high-end iPhone model in 2017. ... KGI analyst Ming-Chi Kuo said the new iPhone's design is similar to...the iPhone 4/4s [but] will employ curved panels.

Kuo expects Apple to choose glass for its new case [because it's] easy to mold and...facilitate[s a] thin-and-light form factor. [It's] expected to include wireless charging and...biometric recognition technology.

Apple has for years been rumored to make the switch to AMOLED...but display manufacturers are simply not equipped...for a product that sells hundreds of millions of units.


Did you say next year? Here's Chance Miller—Apple to revamp iPhone lineup in 2017:

Reliable Apple analyst Ming-Chi Kuo...says that Apple will entirely revamp its iPhone lineup come 2017. ... This somewhat contradicts an earlier note from [him] that said Apple was aiming for an AMOLED iPhone by 2018.

Kuo also says the phone will feature a “completely new form factor” [with] narrow[er] bezels and a “more comfortably grip.” [sic] ... Despite the larger display [it will be] smaller than the current 5.5-inch iPhone. ... It’s looking as if...the iPhone introduced later this year will be largely similar to the [6S], though thinner and without a headphone port.


I'm confused. Are you confused? Duncan Riley drives the point home—KGI report:

While [Kuo] is positive the phone is coming, it’s not nearly as clear on where it will fit. ... AMOLED screens offer a greater range of color...than LCD screens resulting in more vibrant...images.

The problem is there’s barely...piles of spare AMOLED manufacturing...capable of manufacturing screens. ... But additional capacity will come online eventually.


Of course, it's only a rumor. And 2017 is a long way away. Jake Smith is the voice of reason—Apple to release iPhone in 2017:

While the analyst's track record is good, we are still a...ways out from the launch. [And] Kuo doesn't provide specifics on when in [2017].

The rumor-mill has been indicating the...model in 2016 will be similar to the iPhone 6s. It would make sense [if] the 2017 model is a complete revamp...leaving 2016 a year focused on software.


Oh wait. Is there something special about 2017? Abdel Ibrahim thinks so:

This year's iPhone will be less dramatic. Next year's will be a huge leap on the 10th anniversary.


Update 1: But, listen, curved displays are sooo 2014, right? Not according to Solandri:

Contrary to the anti-Samsung rhetoric...about the "uselessness" of curved displays, curves help stiffen and strengthen an otherwise flat structure by converting stresses along the weak axis...into shear stresses which allow a stronger (thicker) axis to take some. ... Take a sheet of paper and stand it on its end...curve that paper by rolling it into a cylinder. It's now strong enough to support itself plus your phone.

It's why the body panels on your car are curved. [Otherwise], just leaning on the car would permanently deform it.

Imagine you're sitting on the phone. ... With a flat display, the bending moment is around the thinnest axis...so the display offers almost no resistance. ... But with a curved display, such bending moments are now partially acting along the thicker glass of the curved edge.

Basically the press...ridicule anything different despite it taking advantage of well-known principles of physics and engineering design. ... Samsung is complying with the current market reality where Apple has convinced the masses who don't know anything...that a stiff metal phone is best.


Update 2: But others simply don't buy the curved rumor. For example, Andy Madigan:

Apple is now selling phones they expect their customers to keep for a year and then return. ... They made all sorts of little tweaks to the 6S to increase their resale value. [So] it's unlikely that you'll see delicate iPhones unless they end...the "iPhone Upgrade Program".

Curved glass would be unusable in a case that protects the screen from cracking. ... I'll buy the OLED theory, and I'll buy the smaller bezels. [But not a] curved screen on an iPhone.

The iPad series might get curved screens. ... Those have entirely different usage parameters.

And Finally…

Aliens: Are We Looking in the Wrong Place?


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Opinions expressed may not represent those of Computerworld. Ask your doctor before reading. Your mileage may vary. E&OE.

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