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iPhone in 2017 will feature curved glass, 5.8-inch AMOLED display and much more

Updated 7 years ago
Published Mar 26th, 2016 5:50PM EDT
iPhone 7s Features
Image: Niels Epting

With calls for Apple’s upcoming iPhone models to be “spectacular”, it appears that pundits and those who have been quick to proclaim that we’ve reached ‘peak iPhone’ have nothing to worry about. While we’ll know what type of wild new features the iPhone 7 will incorporate in just about three months, a new report from reputed analyst Ming-Chi Kuo provides us with some interesting insight as to what Apple has planned for 2017 when it releases what will presumably be called the iPhone 7s.

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According to a research note Kuo provided to investors, and subsequently obtained by AppleInsider, Apple is busy working on an iPhone model with curved pieces of glass and an AMOLED display. What’s more, the report relays that Apple also has plans to shake up its iPhone lineup with a model sporting a 5.8-inch display. Notably, this isn’t the first time we’ve seen reports pointing to Apple shifting away from the LCD display technology that has served the iPhone so well over the past 8 and a half years. Earlier in the month, a report from Nikkei claimed that Apple was in talks with supply partners about ramping up OLED display production ahead of what was initially a 2018 timetable.

As for the iPhone 7s, Kuo, who has a rather impressive track record with respect to Apple rumors, said that the design will incorporate glass on the front and back of the device, similar in style to the design of the iPhone 4 and 4s. Only difference is, the iPhone 7s will incorporate curved glass panels on both the front and back and metal on the sides. What’s more, Kuo believes that the bezels on the iPhone 7s will be smaller than they are on Apple’s current iPhone lineup.

In addition to a new form factor and an AMOLED display, Kuo also writes that Apple is exploring other ways to differentiate the device.

AI reports:

The analyst believes Apple is looking to implement exotic materials to further differentiate iPhone from a sea of competitors. Kuo expects Apple to choose glass for its new case design as the material is easy to mold and boasts properties that facilitate thin-and-light form factor designs…

On the inside, Apple’s next-generation iPhone is expected to include wireless charging and new biometric recognition technology like face and iris scanning, presumably accomplished through a front-facing camera. Apple owns a number of patents covering secure facial recognition technology, including IP that relies on 3D rendering for increased levels of accuracy. Perhaps not coincidentally, the company recently acquired facial recognition specialist Emotient and real-time 3D rendering firm Faceshift.

That said, it remains to be seen if Apple will introduce wireless charging on the iPhone 7 – as has been rumored – or if it will wait until 2017 to roll out the feature.

Though Apple has historically waited for numbered iPhone upgrades to introduce differentiated form factors and new technologies, somewhat stagnant iPhone 6s sales may have prompted Apple to try and pump up sales during the iPhone’s upcoming ‘S’ refresh cycle.

As for how the rumored 5.8-inch iPhone will factor into Apple’s iPhone lineup, well, that remains to be seen. It may be released as yet another iPhone option or Apple could just as easily use it to replace the current 5.5-inch iPhone model.

As Nikkei astutely noted not too long ago, Apple may be pulling out all the stops on the iPhone 7s in an effort to “offset a predicted stall in iPhone sales…”

Yoni Heisler Contributor

Yoni Heisler has been writing about Apple and the tech industry at large for over 15 years. A life long Mac user and Apple expert, his writing has appeared in Edible Apple, Network World, MacLife, Macworld UK, and TUAW. When not analyzing the latest happenings with Apple, Yoni enjoys catching Improv shows in Chicago, playing soccer, and cultivating new TV show addictions.