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Why Apple’s rumored 5.8-inch OLED iPhone doesn’t have to be a huge phablet

Published Mar 9th, 2016 9:12AM EST
iPhone 7s 8 OLED Screen Design
Image: Screenshot / YouTube

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A report yesterday suggested that Apple may be working on a 5.8-inch iPhone that would have an AMOLED screen instead of the LCDs that are usually found inside iPhones. The report is in line with what several other rumors claimed in the past – that Apple is looking to bring AMOLED screens to the iPhone – but the size of the iPhone sounds unusual, given the company’s current iPhone lineup.

Apple sells 4-inch, 4.7-inch and 5.5-inch iPhones, and a 5.8-inch screen might be too big for most people. However, there is a way to achieve that screen size without actually increasing the overall size of the handset.

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Talking to MacRumors about this unconfirmed 5.8-inch iPhone model, DisplayMate’s screen expert Ray Soneira speculates that Apple could use a design that includes “folded edge side screens” for the phone. The device would have a wraparound screen similar to the Galaxy S6 edge and Galaxy S7 edge, one that Apple has described in several patents so far.

A curved screen would eliminate side bezels, and might also remove the physical buttons on the left side (volume and mute) and right side (standby) for either 3D Touch controls, or buttons placed under the screen as described in this patent.

“If Apple wants to be leading display innovation with a new OLED iPhone the side screens would really be the best way to do so,” Soneira said.

Recently, he said the Galaxy S7 line’s AMOLED display is the best smartphone screen, beating the Galaxy S6 and iPhone 6s Plus.

Additionally, Apple could be working to remove the home button and build Touch ID into the screen, allowing it to further increase the size of the display without elongating the handset beyond its current sizes – but that’s just speculation on my part.

Apple’s collection of patents describes technologies the company could use to increase the screen-to-body ratio without making phones that resemble small tablets. But the company has yet to use the tech it describes in any commercial products. In other words, there’s no solid evidence to back any of this up. But there are hopes that a large 5.8-inch AMOLED screen could be fitted in a form factor that’s easy to handle and carry around.

Chris Smith Senior Writer

Chris Smith has been covering consumer electronics ever since the iPhone revolutionized the industry in 2008. When he’s not writing about the most recent tech news for BGR, he brings his entertainment expertise to Marvel’s Cinematic Universe and other blockbuster franchises.

Outside of work, you’ll catch him streaming almost every new movie and TV show release as soon as it's available.

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