Read Charles Moore’s new reflection on rumors that the iPhone 5 will feature a curved glass display and the coveted 4G in 2012.
I’m seriously dating myself by revealing that I remember well Volkswagen’s introduction of the new Super Beetle model in 1971 with a curved, mildly wraparound windshield. All VW Beetles previously had had completely flat windshield glass, so the curvature was considered highly revolutionary.
I took a new Super Beetle belonging to a friend for a test drive and recall noticing how much better it rode and handled with its completely different suspension system, and the gracefully curved windscreen did much to eliminate the impression of viewing the world through a letterbox slot. The Super Beetle is my favorite VW Beetle of all time (I’ll take a Cabriolet Champagne Edition by preference, thanks), the most recent example I’ve driven being a hotrod built by my daughter and her friend as a bare chassis up project, with a twin-Weber carburated Porsche engine and Porsche alloy wheels, as well as a rock hard suspension that makes it handle and corner like a go-kart — at least on smooth roads. It’s seriously demanding to drive, but one seriously hot Beetle.
However, Chen and Shen report that cover glass makers are reluctant to invest in the necessary glass cutting equipment due to high capital cost, so, Apple itself has reportedly purchased 200-300 glass cutting machines to be used by glass makers, or so the sources affirm, currently storing them at associated assembly plants to be brought into production service once yield rates for curved glass reaches a satisfactory level, and further that there’s still been no timetable set for iPhone 5 volume production, at least in part because Apple is currently still working out logistics issues with suppliers including ones involved in cover glass, glass cutting, lamination and touch sensors to improve yield rates.
So why would Apple want a curved iPhone display? Unlike the Super Beetle windscreen of yore, a curved iPhone screen would seem to not offer any obvious advantages, and actually seems sort of like a step backward, since the curved
screen glass of CRT computer monitors long since gave way to flat plane displays almost universally acclaimed to be an improvement. One rumor I heard suggested it might have something to do with 3D, working like some sort of lens.
And while we’re at it, DigiTimes’ Amanda Liang and Adam Hwang have posted a new report sayingthat China Mobile, China’s largest mobile telecom carrier, has reached an agreement with Apple for China Mobile to develop an iPhone model based on TD-LTE which to be offered in 2012, citing comments by China Mobile chairman Wang Jian-zhou at the company’s 2011 shareholders meeting on May 19, according to a report in the Chinese newspaper Southern Metropolis Daily.
In an earlier report, Digitimes’ Irene Chen and Steve Shen noted that Apple is unlikely to launch LTE-enabled iPhone 4S smartphones in 2011 as originally planned due to problems concerning yield rates of LTE chips offered by Qualcomm.
Many thanks to all of the folks yesterday who sent in links to stories about this rumored new feature for the iPhone 5! iPhone 5′ers are the best at keeping up on all things iPhone!
What do you think the purpose of a curved screen might be on the iPhone 5? Cool looks? Ergonomics? And how would it affect gesture control on the touch screen? Let us know what you think!
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