In more recent years, Apple has not been afraid to tweak the physical design of the iPhone, finally introducing larger display options and, more recently, going with an all-front display (save for that annoying notch at the top). So what comes next? Well, rumor has it Apple is working towards curved panels with touch-free gesture controls to differentiate the iPhone from other premium smartphones on the market.
Citing "people with knowledge of the matter," Bloomberg says the future iPhone model would allow users to perform tasks by moving their finger close to the display, without actually making contact with the panel or having to physically tap to screen. One benefit, we suppose, would be a reduction in finger smudges. However, it could make things tricky when playing games that require taps at precise moments, or rapid tapping.
Apple has time to think about these things—sources say the technology is still at least two years out from being ready for consumers, and that is assuming Apple decides to go forward with it. As many companies do, Apple is prone to testing new ideas and abandoning the ones it does not like.
As for the curved aspect of the display, the panel would have a gradual inward curve going from the top of the phone to the bottom. It is a different approach than Samsung's curved phones, which wrap around the sides. Also worth noting is that it would be the first time Apple has moved away from a flat panel. Technically the OLED screen on the iPhone is has a slight curve on the bottom, but it's only noticeable if looking closely.
Curved panels and touch-free operation are both in the early states of development. It remains to be seen if either or both end up on a shipping product, or are scrapped in favor of something else. Either way, Apple has to be careful not to become complacent. The iPhone is the company's bread and butter. And between the iPhone X and iPhone 8 models, Apple accounted for 20 percent of smartphone shipments, according to IDC.