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Apple 'gearing up' to release devices with curved glass in 2012 - report

post #1 of 51
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Next-generation portable devices from Apple could feature curved glass, as the company has allegedly bought new equipment in preparation to release devices with curved touchscreens next year.

Industry sources believe curved glass displays could be "the next big thing" in handheld devices, DigiTimes reported on Monday. They said that both Apple and non-Apple device makers are "gearing up" to release products with curved touchscreens in the first half of 2012.

Apple's competitors reportedly view curved glass displays as a way they can gain a competitive advantage over the iPhone maker. But Apple is believed to also be showing interest in curved displays.

"Apple reportedly has bought glass polishing equipment for its suppliers in preparation for the production of devices fitted with curved cover glass," the report said.

"Lens Technology, Fuji Crystal, G-Tech are said to be major cover glass suppliers of Apple. While Lens and Fuji focus on iPhones, G-Tech supplies mainly for iPad."

In May, the same publication claimed that Apple had bought between 200 and 300 glass cutting machines to produce curved displays. Apple reportedly made the purchase, and not its cover glass suppliers, because glass makers were said to be "reluctant" to invest in such equipment.

That report suggested that Apple's fifth-generation iPhone could sport a curved glass screen. However, since the report was issued in May, there has been no further indication that Apple intends to release a device with a curved display this year.

Apple has, however, announced one high-profile project that will prominently feature curved glass: the company's plans for a new "spaceship" campus in Cupertino, Calif., will feature curved glass around the outside, creating the giant circular shape.

"There's not a straight piece of glass in this building," Apple co-founder Steve Jobs said in a presentation unveiling the plans in June. "We've used our experience in building retail buildings all over the world. We know how to make the biggest pieces of glass for architectural use."



Curved glass is also expected to play a part in Apple's new Santa Monica store, with a large curved glass ceiling allowing in the California sun. But while curved glass has been a feature of Apple's architectural projects, it has not yet found its way into the company's portable devices.

A unique curved screen is one of the defining characteristics of the Nexus S smartphone released by Google last December. The search giant's second flagship Android device sports a "contour display" for its 4-inch, 480-by-800-pixel AMOLED screen.
post #2 of 51
Quote:
Originally Posted by AppleInsider View Post

"There's not a straight piece of glass in this building," Apple co-founder Steve Jobs said

Reading between the lines here, does this include the glass-screens of all Apple devices in the building? Hmmm...
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post #3 of 51
Quote:
Originally Posted by bloggerblog View Post

Reading between the lines here, does this include the glass-screens of all Apple devices in the building? Hmmm...

No. It doesn't.
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post #4 of 51
Quote:
Originally Posted by Socrates View Post

No. It doesn't.

Pretty sure the OP was just being sarcastic.
post #5 of 51
Why would I want curved glass on my phone?
post #6 of 51
this is what design is all about... going back and forth between curved and flat every few years and marketing each as superior to what came before it.
post #7 of 51
OK, guess I'm clueless. I guess I can kinda see how having the exterior glass be a bit curved might look cool, heck it might even feel pretty cool to hold, but I just really don't "get it" with regards to exactly why they'd want to go down this path? I'd personally rather have a thinner phone vs artificially adding depth due to a curved screen (though I guess the curve could be slight enough to not have a practical effect on perceived depth).

Though I guess if Apple is intent on making glass in general and curved glass specifically be a part of it's over corporate/product identity then it will be so regardless of any practicalities. I have to admit when I first saw the leaked photo's of iPhone 4 I wasn't impressed until I actually got one and the design really "clicked" with me then.
post #8 of 51
Quote:
Originally Posted by logic368 View Post

this is what design is all about... going back and forth between curved and flat every few years and marketing each as superior to what came before it.

Hardly what design is 'all about' but I assume you are being witty / sarcastic. Design is a fluid and evolving thing, the day it stops it all ends. Life, that is. I love my flat ip4 - it surely must be the flattest phone that ever existed, but a new design with a curved glass used in an Apple-esque minimalist design sounds awesome.
post #9 of 51
Quote:
Originally Posted by fishstick_kitty View Post

Why would I want curved glass on my phone?


Because a curved screen taking up the same space on an iPhone 4 would have a bigger surface area, so in essence you could fit a larger screen on a smaller phone. They done it with the ipod nano.


PS. we've had it on our TV's for years.
post #10 of 51
Quote:
Originally Posted by crapday View Post

Because a curved screen taking up the same space on an iPhone 4 would have a bigger surface area, so in essence you could fit a larger screen on a smaller phone. They done it with the ipod nano.

Minimally
Quote:
PS. we've had it on our TV's for years.

That's entirely different
post #11 of 51
Quote:
Originally Posted by crapday View Post

Because a curved screen taking up the same space on an iPhone 4 would have a bigger surface area, so in essence you could fit a larger screen on a smaller phone. They done it with the ipod nano.


PS. we've had it on our TV's for years.

Unless they turn next gen portable devices into a full on cylinder so you'll be carrying a glass coke can of a thing on your person, the tiny bit of extra surface area gained from curved glass would probably be imperceptible. The curved glass of a CRT was due to limitations that went along with creating a picture on the screen by aiming energy from a pivoting gun sitting at a fixed distance centered behind the glass. The curved screen is especially bad as a monitor. Flat CRTs were a godsend. Light, thin, flat LCDs leaps and bound over flat CRT behemoths.

Maybe there is an advantage to curved glass on portable devices I'm not imagining at the moment, but in and of itself, curved glass on a visual display surface (at least for 2D images) is less than desirable. Despite what many people believe, Apple does not always adhere to the form follows function approach, unless the "function" is to sacrifice a bit of usability in favor of pumping up the "shiny bauble" appeal for the consumer market (glossy monitors, cases that are small for the sake of small to the point of ditching useful function, etc.).

Hopefully, this won't be another example of Apple coming up with a new "cool" factor that does little to improve the product, but gets nerds and teenagers hot and bothered due to sheer next big thing gadget lust.
post #12 of 51
Quote:
Originally Posted by fishstick_kitty View Post

Why would I want curved glass on my phone?

Because it will be made by Apple.
post #13 of 51
Quote:
Originally Posted by bitWrangler View Post

I'd personally rather have a thinner phone vs artificially adding depth due to a curved screen

How about a thinner phone due to actually reducing depth due to a curved screen?

What about an arched screen adding structural strength, allowing for a weaker/thinner body?
post #14 of 51
If the back is glass so it fits better in your hand like the Magic Mouse, then sure, but not a curve on the touchscreen panel glass.


edit: Something like this with a much thinner bezel:

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post #15 of 51
Less reflections?
post #16 of 51
Quote:
Originally Posted by ConradJoe View Post

How about a thinner phone due to actually reducing depth due to a curved screen?

What about an arched screen adding structural strength, allowing for a weaker/thinner body?

The thing has electronics that have to fit inside, and it's already pretty thin. I doubt glass will be as strong as an aluminum outer case. The only way to make it thinner AND have a curved glass surface would be to drastically reduce the size of the device's guts and lose the metal outer casing in favor of glass edges that curve in at the outer perimeter where the metal outer casing is now, or maybe split the difference by making the metal back more curved to the point it folds over to form a bit of a rim around the sides to somewhere in the middle of the outer edge where the glass surface curves at the edges.

No matter what, a curve exists in two planes, whereas a flat surface only one, so if the screen is curved glass, the screen can only be larger in total dimension. I can see a new device with curved glass, thinner at the outer edges being roughly the same depth as existing flat screens, but if the device is to have a curved screen and be perceptibly thinner on whole, whatever needs to fit inside the thing would have to take up a significantly smaller amount of space.

My guess is, if they do use curved glass, the result will be a very slight rounding across most of the surface with amore extreme rounded bevel at the edges. If there would be an improvement beyond subjective aesthetics from the curved glass, my money would be improved ergonomics as far as how it feels in your hand (which could be subtle but significant)—like holding a bar of soap after the edges have been washed smooth is more comfortable than holding a new bar of soap with sharper edges.
post #17 of 51
Just conjecture here, but you could make a curved iPhone or iPod Touch that still fits in your pocket larger than a flat one.

There's a reason hip flasks are curved.

Alternatively, it could be for more radically curved "corners" on the products. Dropping the iPhone 4 on the exposed corner is currently the structural weak spot with these glass phones. If there IS no exposed corner on one with an all-curved-glass face, perhaps that would result in a more durable phone, as counter-intuitive as that might seem?
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post #18 of 51
Quote:
Originally Posted by bitWrangler View Post

OK, guess I'm clueless. I guess I can kinda see how having the exterior glass be a bit curved might look cool, heck it might even feel pretty cool to hold, but I just really don't "get it" with regards to exactly why they'd want to go down this path? I'd personally rather have a thinner phone vs artificially adding depth due to a curved screen (though I guess the curve could be slight enough to not have a practical effect on perceived depth).

Quote:
Originally Posted by crapday View Post

Because a curved screen taking up the same space on an iPhone 4 would have a bigger surface area, so in essence you could fit a larger screen on a smaller phone.

Quote:
Originally Posted by GMHut View Post

Maybe there is an advantage to curved glass on portable devices I'm not imagining at the moment, but in and of itself, curved glass on a visual display surface (at least for 2D images) is less than desirable.

Quote:
Originally Posted by solipsism View Post

If the back is glass so it fits better in your hand like the Magic Mouse, then sure, but not a curve on the touchscreen panel glass.

I think you're all picturing it the wrong way - I don't think the curved screen will be convex, it'll be concave. Much like the analogy with a CRT screen being curved to accommodate the electron gun (but in reverse), I could see a touchscreen being slightly concave (from the user's perspective) so that "finger distance" remains constant as you sweep and flick.

As a quick example, think about how when you're stretching an image with finger & thumb; if the screen's slightly concave, you're able to stretch the image more with a smaller motion. Or when you flick to the side, the curve follows the curve of your fingertip's movement - you don't have to (subconsciously, admittedly) adjust your fingertip height to match the flatness of the screen.
post #19 of 51
We are talking about Desktop displays here, a thin, iOS-based touchscreen iMac-type device with a curved touch-panel that provides a 3-dimensional-like behavior...

This is the future of desktop computing, and I have been guessing Apple would eventually do something like this, with curved displays...as well as 3-dimentional displays, touch-glass "table computers" and in-air nuance gesturing for manipulating the OS.

With this curved display, you may not even have to "touch" the display to issue commands or control the OS, there may be sensors that read your movements in the air, and by waving you hand in a certain direction or making certain gestures or movements in front of the panel can register as a command...

This is a very interesting rumor/report on a new technology we may see in the near future on the desktop computing side...
post #20 of 51
Quote:
Originally Posted by Sierrajeff View Post

I think you're all picturing it the wrong way - I don't think the curved screen will be convex, it'll be concave. Much like the analogy with a CRT screen being curved to accommodate the electron gun (but in reverse), I could see a touchscreen being slightly concave (from the user's perspective) so that "finger distance" remains constant as you sweep and flick.

As a quick example, think about how when you're stretching an image with finger & thumb; if the screen's slightly concave, you're able to stretch the image more with a smaller motion. Or when you flick to the side, the curve follows the curve of your fingertip's movement - you don't have to (subconsciously, admittedly) adjust your fingertip height to match the flatness of the screen.

That would mean the whole thing would be a little thicker (Apple usually goes smaller, not bigger), or the electronics inside would have to be smaller to accommodate convex glass encroaching on the physical space internal components take up inside the device.
post #21 of 51
Why curved glass? What purpose does it server other than..... well.... roundness for the sake of roundness? Hair brained idea to me.

Quote:
Originally Posted by crapday View Post

Because a curved screen taking up the same space on an iPhone 4 would have a bigger surface area, so in essence you could fit a larger screen on a smaller phone. They done it with the ipod nano.


PS. we've had it on our TV's for years.

Both the Nano and the TVs were entirely different. The Nano (I assume you mean the one with the camera) was curved so it could sit flush with the rest of the curved case. With regards to Televisions, if the glass was not curved then the Cathode Ray Tubes would not display correctly at the time. But since around 2001, even CRT TVs have been flat screen.

... at night.

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... at night.

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post #22 of 51
Quote:
Originally Posted by Sierrajeff View Post

I think you're all picturing it the wrong way - I don't think the curved screen will be convex, it'll be concave. Much like the analogy with a CRT screen being curved to accommodate the electron gun (but in reverse), I could see a touchscreen being slightly concave (from the user's perspective) so that "finger distance" remains constant as you sweep and flick.

As a quick example, think about how when you're stretching an image with finger & thumb; if the screen's slightly concave, you're able to stretch the image more with a smaller motion. Or when you flick to the side, the curve follows the curve of your fingertip's movement - you don't have to (subconsciously, admittedly) adjust your fingertip height to match the flatness of the screen.

Absolutely. They are not going to make it curved in the same way the nano is. If there's a curve, it'll be concave and longitudinal - like the original Android phone (the one made for Google by Samsung iirc) was.
post #23 of 51
Quote:
Originally Posted by jouster View Post

Absolutely. They are not going to make it curved in the same way the nano is. If there's a curve, it'll be concave and longitudinal - like the original Android phone (the one made for Google by Samsung iirc) was.

The only reason the Nano and CRT monitors work is because you're not touching it.
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post #24 of 51
post #25 of 51
Sounds like it would be something like the Contour display in the Nexus S

post #26 of 51
Quote:
Originally Posted by fishstick_kitty View Post

Why would I want curved glass on my phone?

Exactly my question - rounded glass face? - is this a technical innovation that the consumer can use to some advantage or have they run out of ideas for the new models?
post #27 of 51
Quote:
Originally Posted by tenzo View Post

The future of glass.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6Cf7IL_eZ38

First, I want to say that I geeked out over the tablet-sized glass showing the cover of the book on the back of what he was reading. I just really REALLY liked that for some reason (also, the tip of the hat was very well placed).

Second, they certainly spent a lot of money on that short demo. And with 15 million views, they're obviously a fairly popular name (although I've never heard of them).

I just wonder how much they're working on physical stuff. I would hope that the amount spent on this look into the future is peanuts compared to the R&D they're actually doing, though that's often not the case.

Also, I want my future to be more than just clear, silver, and white. I love that combination, but other colors exist for a reason. They tend to be pretty.

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There's just a TINY chance that Apple will also be able to figure out payments. Oh wait, they did already… …and you’re already fucked.

 

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Originally Posted by Slurpy

There's just a TINY chance that Apple will also be able to figure out payments. Oh wait, they did already… …and you’re already fucked.

 

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post #28 of 51
Would curved glass be conducive to good gaming?
post #29 of 51
Quote:
Originally Posted by macinthe408 View Post

Would curved glass be conducive to good gaming?

Could be. Depends on the game and the curve.
post #30 of 51
Quote:
Originally Posted by ConradJoe View Post

Could be. Depends on the game and the curve.

For example, EVE Online? SERIOUS curve.

Minecraft? Not as big a curve.

Originally Posted by Slurpy

There's just a TINY chance that Apple will also be able to figure out payments. Oh wait, they did already… …and you’re already fucked.

 

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Originally Posted by Slurpy

There's just a TINY chance that Apple will also be able to figure out payments. Oh wait, they did already… …and you’re already fucked.

 

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post #31 of 51
More nonsense. Apple isn't going to create a curved glass iPhone, nor iPod touch, nor iPad. A curved surface may only be useful for a very large display for simulation purposes, and even then a simple array of flat monitors works fine.

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post #32 of 51
Quote:
Originally Posted by SpamSandwich View Post

More nonsense. Apple isn't going to create a curved glass iPhone, nor iPod touch, nor iPad. A curved surface may only be useful for a very large display for simulation purposes, and even then a simple array of flat monitors works fine.

Scrolling feels much more natural on a small curved glass screen. Try using the web browser on a curved screen Android phone at your local Best Buy.
post #33 of 51
Did you all even read my post above? This is for DESKTOP displays, not iPhones, iPads, or laptops...we are talking about a next-gen iMac or Thunderbolt display with wrap-around touch-capcitive glass, possibly with sensors for in-air gesturing....
post #34 of 51
Quote:
Originally Posted by GMHut View Post

Unless they turn next gen portable devices into a full on cylinder so you'll be carrying a glass coke can of a thing on your person, the tiny bit of extra surface area gained from curved glass would probably be imperceptible. The curved glass of a CRT was due to limitations that went along with creating a picture on the screen by aiming energy from a pivoting gun sitting at a fixed distance centered behind the glass. The curved screen is especially bad as a monitor. Flat CRTs were a godsend. Light, thin, flat LCDs leaps and bound over flat CRT behemoths.

Maybe there is an advantage to curved glass on portable devices I'm not imagining at the moment, but in and of itself, curved glass on a visual display surface (at least for 2D images) is less than desirable. Despite what many people believe, Apple does not always adhere to the form follows function approach, unless the "function" is to sacrifice a bit of usability in favor of pumping up the "shiny bauble" appeal for the consumer market (glossy monitors, cases that are small for the sake of small to the point of ditching useful function, etc.).

Hopefully, this won't be another example of Apple coming up with a new "cool" factor that does little to improve the product, but gets nerds and teenagers hot and bothered due to sheer next big thing gadget lust.

The curved tube was a structural issue... creating flat tubes required the use of thicker glass, which at the time they didn't have the capacity to make. When the larger tube flat screens came out, many had front glass over 2 inches thick. My 'old' Sony 32 weighed 220lbs... and the centre of gravity was maybe 2 inches from the front... telling me the majority of that TV's weight was the front glass.

The curve of the old tube is to withstand the vacuum forces... not to keep the face equidistant from the beam...
post #35 of 51
Quote:
Originally Posted by fishstick_kitty View Post

Why would I want curved glass on my phone?

I can't see how it would make the touch screenneasier to use. In reality it would be harder. Then you have the issue of actually making the screen, which would be massively expensive compared to flat glass. Flat glass is extremely simple to make in mass production.

Beyond that think about bounding the LCD and touch screen components. It would be like asking for a manufacturing nightmare. Warranty repair would be hell to as now you have a surface that is easy to put a point load on.

This whole curved glass thing makes no sense to me as I don't see it leading to a better product.
post #36 of 51
Quote:
Originally Posted by WardC View Post

Did you all even read my post above? This is for DESKTOP displays, not iPhones, iPads, or laptops...we are talking about a next-gen iMac or Thunderbolt display with wrap-around touch-capcitive glass, possibly with sensors for in-air gesturing....

Did you read the article? It specifically mentions phones.

The only "sensors" for air gestures around now are video cameras (like xBox, PS3, wii). You don't need a curved glass for "air gestures." You need a new implementation of OS and aps to translate mapping done by a simple web cam into a GUI. If you've ever use an old curved CRT, you know that a curved large monitor is a giant step backwards, and the shape of the monitor has zero to do with "air gestures".
post #37 of 51
Quote:
Originally Posted by AppleInsider View Post

Apple has, however, announced one high-profile project that will prominently feature curved glass: the company's plans for a new "spaceship" campus in Cupertino.

Totally related.

/s
Citing unnamed sources with limited but direct knowledge of the rumoured device - Comedy Insider (Feb 2014)
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Citing unnamed sources with limited but direct knowledge of the rumoured device - Comedy Insider (Feb 2014)
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post #38 of 51
Quote:
Originally Posted by Negafox View Post

Scrolling feels much more natural on a small curved glass screen. Try using the web browser on a curved screen Android phone at your local Best Buy.

The last thing Apple is going to do is copy Android. Are you kidding?

Proud AAPL stock owner.

 

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post #39 of 51
Quote:
Originally Posted by WardC View Post

Did you all even read my post above? This is for DESKTOP displays, not iPhones, iPads, or laptops...we are talking about a next-gen iMac or Thunderbolt display with wrap-around touch-capcitive glass, possibly with sensors for in-air gesturing....

I bet most read it and thought what I was thinking,"ya, I've seen minority report too".
Why would a thunderbolt diplay need wrap around glass, touch capacitive or not? We're years away from in-air gesture os's.
post #40 of 51
Quote:
Originally Posted by SpamSandwich View Post

The last thing Apple is going to do is copy Android. Are you kidding?

Not like they've haven't ever added features after someone else did. If this rumour is true and they use it in the screen, it would be a lot like the Contour display in the Nexus S. And Giz just posted a rumor about more integrated voice features like Android.

http://gizmodo.com/5843879/rumor-the...-voice-control
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