Curved glass 2017 iPhone is already keeping suppliers busy

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Galaxy Note 7 S Pen
Apple could be borrowing one of Samsung's big design features for next year's iPhone.
Photo: Samsung

The iPhone 7’s not even been officially unveiled yet, and already suppliers are prepping for next year’s tenth-birthday iPhone refresh, according to a new report.

Specifically, an equipment maker called Mirle Automation has reportedly been working on the necessary technology to replicate the 3D curved glass chassis seen on devices like the the Galaxy S7 edge and the new Galaxy Note 7. And it’s paying off.

New Apple Patent Hints At iOS Devices With Curved Glass Displays

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iPhone-6-ecran-incurve

The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office has awarded Apple a patent, describing a means of manufacturing curved touchscreens.

The patent, which was filed back in November 2010, may lend credibility to the rumors that Apple is working on an iWatch with curved glass display to fit users’ wrists, as reported earlier this year.

During the Apple vs. Samsung patent trial, Apple industrial designers revealed that the company had a “strong interest” in featuring a curved glass display for its iPhone as far back as the first generation model — although it abandoned the idea at the time for reasons of cost.

Everything We Think We Know About The iWatch So Far

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A designer's iWatch mockup.
A designer's iWatch mockup.

Apple is becoming a victim of its own success. It’s been several years since the company launched the iPad and revolutionized yet another product category, but we haven’t seen anything truly groundbreaking since then. Sure, we’ve had the iPad mini, the Retina MacBook Pro, and the awesome new iMac, but they’re all variations or improvements on existing products.

Now the world is clamoring for something completely new — something that’ll take off just like the iPod, iPhone and iPad.

Some reports suggest it will be the Apple “iTV,” the company first television set, which is said to be in development inside the company’s Cupertino headquarters. But it’s more likely that Apple’s immediate concern is with the “iWatch,” a smartwatch powered by iOS that will bring all kinds of crazy-cool technology to your wrist.

I had suspicions Apple might be working on its own watch when it redesigned the iPod nano last year. A lot of fans used the tiny nano as a watch thanks to third-party strap accessories, and it seemed like its form factor and design were changed for a reason — to make way for something new.

We’ve been reading iWatch rumors for the past few months, so it’s time to put them all together and establish what we think we know about the iWatch so far.

Apple Wanted iPhone To Have Curved Glass Display, Would Have Cost Too Much

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curved glass iPhone concept

More juicy tidbits keep surfacing in the Apple vs. Samsung patent trial. We’ve already seen dozens and dozens of early iPhone and iPad prototypes, and we all learned that Apple literally designs products around a kitchen table. A new finding reveals that Apple had “strong interest” in curved glass for the original iPhone, but the idea was shelved because it would have costed too much to make at the time.