Now that the smartphone design pioneered by Apple has firmly entrenched itself as the de-facto standard for smartphone form factors, Digitimes reports that curved glass may be the next big thing for Apple handheld devices like the iPhone.
The report notes that both Apple and its competitors are gearing up for 2012 releases of products with curved touchscreens. And while we haven’t heard much about this lately, you might remember rumors from earlier this year suggesting the iPhone 5 will sport a curved glass screen.
Suppliers of the non-Apple camp are working on products with curved cover glass in attempts to gain a competitive edge in the handheld device market dominated by Apple, sources in the glass industry said.
But Apple reportedly also has bought glass polishing equipment for its suppliers in preparation for the production of devices fitted with curved cover glass. 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.
Further, previous reports have relayed that Apple also purchased 200-300 glass cutting machines to assist manufacturers who have been hesitant to invest in them due to their extremely high cost.
While curved glass perhaps conjures up notions of a semi-circular display, the reality would probably look something like the Samsung Nexus S which employs a concave curved screen. Apple has of course used curved glass on previous iterations of the iPod Nano but that was a convex design that’s a little less elegant.
Below is a photo of the Samsung Nexus S with its curved display in full effect.