Report: Apple developing iPhones with 4.7, 5.5-inch curved, pressure-sensitive screens

Apple's (NASDAQ:AAPL) iPhone 5s and 5c have only been avaialble for a few months, but the rumor mill is already cranking out speculation on Apple's upcoming iPhones. According to a Bloomberg report, Apple is developing new iPhone designs that feature larger screens with curved glass and enhanced sensors that can measure different levels of pressure.

The report, citing an unnamed source familiar with the plans, said that the phones, scheduled for release in the second half of 2014, would have screens of 4.7 inches and 5.5 inches, much larger than the current 4-inch screens on the latest iPhones. More importantly, the gadgets would have glass that curves downward and may have sensors that can distinguish heavy or light touches, though the pressure-sensitive sensors might not make it into the next iPhones. The report noted that the designs are still in development and plans haven't been completed.

Apple declined to comment, according to Bloomberg.

Rumors of Apple developing larger-screened iPhones are not new. Apple asked its component suppliers to test iPhone and iPad screens larger than the ones currently available, according to a July Wall Street Journal report. Additionally, Reuters reported in June that, according to unnamed sources, including those in Apple's supply chain in Asia, Apple is thinking about releasing at least two bigger iPhones next year, one with a 4.7-inch screen and one with a 5.7-inch screen.

Larger screen sizes have become more popular both in smartphones running Google's (NASDAQ:GOOG) Android as well as recent phones using Microsoft's (NASDAQ:MSFT) Windows Phone. Larger screen sizes have generally correlated with more video consumption and data usage.

Additionally, OEMs have recently been experimenting with curved displays in their design language, which, if adopted by Apple, would represent a break with the iPhone's historical design. LG Electronics late last month took the wraps off its new G Flex smartphone, which features a 6-inch curved display. And Samsung Electronics in October unveiled its Galaxy Round, which features a 5.7-inch full HD super AMOLED curved screen. The two phones have different appearances: Samsung's Galaxy Round wraps slightly around the vertical axis while G Flex has a more apparent curve along its horizontal axis, like a banana.

It's unclear if consumers will care all that much about the innovation in curved displays, and the high price tags could scare off potential buyers (for instance, the Galaxy Round is now on sale in South Korea for about $1,000 without a contract). Analysts have said the lack of must-have features could deter would-be buyers and manufacturing costs for such phones remain high.

For now, Apple's iPhone business is humming. Apple sold 33.8 million iPhones in its most recent quarter, slightly above a consensus of analysts and a record for the company's September quarter. Apple's just-ended fiscal fourth quarter included only eight days of sales for the iPhone 5s and 5c, which went on sale Sept. 20. The company's December quarter will likely be its biggest ever in terms of iPhone sales.

For more:
- see this Bloomberg article
- see this The Verge article
- see this AllThingsD article

Related Articles:
Apple sells 33.8M iPhones in record quarter
LG challenges Samsung's Galaxy Round with its own curved G Flex smartphone
Samsung's Galaxy Round makes curved-screen smartphone a reality
Report: Apple testing iPhones and iPads with larger screens
Report: Apple considering 4.7- and 5.7-inch screens for next year's iPhones

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