A new report suggesting that Apple will deploy its glass cutting machines in 2012 for a curved glass display indicates that the iPhone 6 will be the recipient of a form factor overhaul.
The current iPhone 5 rumor mill has gone back and forth in pondering whether the new iPhone set to be announced on October 4th will be a form factor refresh of the iPhone 4, or a completely new design. iPhone users who are eager to see the screen size of the iPhone increase are concerned that the use of the iPhone 4′s chassis on the next iPhone will not allow for a larger screen. For those who are worried about that scenario, a new report may provide even more concern.
According to DigiTimes, Apple is planning to start using its own glass-cutting equipment in 2012, ostensibly for a curved glass display and/or chassis for the iPhone 6: “curved cover glass may be the next big thing in terms of handheld device designs as both Apple and the non-Apple camp are reportedly gearing up for the releases of products with curved touchscreens in the first half 2012, according to industry sources.”
Many iPhone enthusiasts are excited about the prospect of a curved glass iPhone 6, though many iPhone users also see this delay in working on the iPhone’s form factor as yet another piece of evidence suggesting that the iPhone 5 will indeed be a mere refresh in form factor and screen size.
In addition, DigiTimes ends their article with an interesting conclusion: “However, the sources pointed out that curved cover glass may be a short-lived fashion, and it remains to be seen whether major handheld device suppliers are willing to keep releasing new models featuring curved cover glass.” This is clearly just one or several analysts’ perception of a curved glass trend, and we have yet to see what Apple might do with curved glass technology. But for DigiTimes‘ part, they seem to think that, because a curved glass display has little to offer in terms of functionality, it may only turn out to be a fad in the world of smartphones; while it does lend a bit of ergonomics to a smartphone for more comfortable phone calls, it is currently considered to be more of an aesthetic feature.
For Apple consumers, however, aesthetics are critically important, and it is very possible that Apple could use their new curved glass-cutting technology not only for the display, but also for 0ther specs of the iPhone 6‘s chassis, perhaps in a return to the glass back (even if the iPhone 5 ends up to be aluminum-backed). Another thing to consider is Apple’s partnership with LiquidMetal, a company that has developed a strong, lightweight metal alloy that can be molded much like plastic. To this point, Apple has not deployed this technology on the iPhone, however, one can imagine the iPhone 6 to be a masterwork of curved glass and metal for a look and feel that would be unlike anything we have ever seen in the smartphone world.
By Michael Nace