Let’s face it, Apple has been in a holding pattern

Written by Kamil Arli

Let’s face it, Apple AAPL +0.59% has been in a holding pattern. The iPhone 7 is a mixed bag and interest has already moved on to the radical iPhone redesign that will launch in 2017 to celebrate the range’s 10th anniversary. Well now this whiz bang iPhone just got even more exciting…


Following up on repeated leaks that the ‘iPhone 8’ (as it is being dubbed) will feature an “edgeless display”, the Korea Herald has a major exclusive which delivers both good and bad news:

“The OLED version of the new iPhone will all be curved as Apple ordered all plastic OLED – not glass – from Samsung Display. Samsung is capable of supplying a little less than 100 million units of curved OLED displays to Apple,” the paper said citing a source familiar with the matter.

2017 Apple iPhone OLED concept design. Image credit: Veniamin Geskin2017 Apple iPhone triple curved OLED concept design. Image credit: Veniamin Geskin
 Let’s deal with these one at a time:
  1. An “All Curved” Display
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Common sense tells us Apple is not designing a banana-shaped iPhone, so I suspect the curves the Korea Herald is talking about here relate to a display which curves at all four sides of the iPhone fascia. “Quad curved” would be a simpler description and given Samsung’s “Dual Curved” Galaxy S7 Edge is widely regarded as the best looking smartphone in the world, I suspect more curves would look even better.

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How Apple would combat the Galaxy S7 Edge’s worst trait (how to hold it without registering accident touches to the display) remains to be seen. The Korea Herald says Apple is working on new ‘sensing technology’ which would detect contact on the sides of the display not just the front, but how that avoids becoming a usability nightmare only time will tell.
  1. Plastic OLED panel
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If the Korea Herald’s source is right, this is bad news plain and simple.

The big (and only) benefit of plastic is it doesn’t shatter like glass because plastic is softer so instead it dints and scratches. Motorola went this route with the ‘shatterproof’ Moto Force, but while the phone was indeed shatterproof it picked up marks and scratches very easily due to this softer material and most Force phones looked terrible after a year.

The 'shatterproof' Moto X Force lived up to its name, but its plastic screen scratches very easily. Image credit: Motorola

The ‘shatterproof’ Moto X Force lived up to its name, but its plastic screen scratches very easily. Image credit: Motorola

Could Apple somehow toughen this plastic? I highly doubt it. Plastic and glass have very different chemical properties and plastic absorbs impact well at the cost of trace marks while glass repels impact well at the cost of minor damage right until it shatters. There’s also the fact plastic isn’t regarded as a premium material and doesn’t feel as pleasant as glass to the touch.

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So to me the only logic would be Apple using plastic as an underlayer to help a glass display better absorb impact, but this feels like a stretch given Apple’s hatred of introducing anything that adds thickness to a device.

All of which leaves us with more questions than answer. But if the iPhone 8 is going to be as expensive as predicted, then Apple will want to keep the word ‘plastic’ as far away from public knowledge as possible…

Source: forbes

About the author


Kamil Arli

Editor of Digital Media Consultant

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