iPhone 6 rumor rollup for the week ending Nov. 15

iPhone big screen or big screens, curvaceous, and pressured

Fortunately for the iOSphere, Bloomberg found a “person familiar with Apple’s plans” to spill the beans and provide a week’s worth of rumor cud-chewing over the iPhone 6 display.

While many iOSpherians are convinced that the iPhone 6 will have a bigger display and a curved display, there is Deep Uncertainty about how big, or which way the curve will, you know, curve.

But let’s not quibble. This one source, in a story written by two reporters, was also familiar with Apple’s plans to introduce not one but two Bigger Screened iPhone 6 handsets. Thanksgiving Day has come early this year.

You read it here second.

“I have absolutely no doubt whatsoever that Apple is investigating curved displays… That doesn't mean, however, that just because Apple looked at something that they're going to release it.”

~ Avi Greengart, analyst, Current Analysis

“Analyst Debunks Curved Display On iPhone 6 Release Date”

~ Kristin Dian Mariano, International Business Times, with the iOSpherian translation of Greengart’s commonsense observation.

iPhone 6 will have two screen sizes, curved “glass,” and maybe pressure sensors

Talk about a cornucopia of Innovation, eh?  This abundance of information overflows from a Bloomberg story, “Apple Said Developing Curved iPhone Screens, New Sensors,” by Tim Culpan and Adam Satariano.

And where did it come from you ask? From “a person familiar with the plans.” Or, as experienced iOSpherians like to say, a PFWP.

Maybe they caught Tim Cook or Phil Schiller when he was in a chatty mood in an elevator. Or maybe they talked to the drycleaner of the next door neighbor of the best friend of a coworker who has a cousin who plays online games with an engineer who overheard an Apple designer talking to someone before the subway door closed. But somebody who’s not just anybody.

[IPHONEYS: The iPhone 6 edition]

“Two models planned for release in the second half of next year would feature larger displays with glass that curves downward at the edges, said the person, declining to be identified because the details aren’t public. Sensors that can distinguish heavy or light touches on the screen may be incorporated into subsequent models, the person said.

BGR’s Zach Epstein argues in his post on the Bloomberg story that the phrasing “with glass that curves downward at the edges” is not a reference to a curved displays “but rather that the glass covering the panels will be curved.” Which doesn’t clarify much: does he mean the display is flat but it’s covered with a convex glass cover? Or that the glass cover is flat but it curves down over the edge of the phone?

Curved screens – both convex and concave - have been an obsession with the iOSphere for months, even years, though with little analysis on how or why curving the screen, or the “glass,” actually improves the phone. The obsession has been intensified by Samsung’s Galaxy Round smartphone, which curves upward from the two sides, and the just-announced LG G Flex, which curves upward from the top and bottom.

The latter design at least has the sense to mimic traditional wired handset designs going back 70 years, as shown in this Wikipedia image of a rotary phone from the 1940s.

The Bloomberg reporters suggest that perhaps it’s a curved BIG screen that’s vital to Apple’s future, because the Galaxy Round is Samsung’s “latest phone in an array of sizes and price points that’s helping keep Samsung ahead of Apple in global market share.” The PFWP says the screens will measure 4.7 and 5.5 inches, which would make them, as Culpan and Satariano astutely point out, “Apple’s largest iPhones,” since the current 5S and 5C measure just 4.0 inches.

It “seems rather curious that Apple would introduce two new displays sizes at the same time,” posted a skeptical John Gruber at his DaringFireball blog.  “Apple has only introduced one new iPhone display size since 2007, but they’re going to introduce two at the same time next year? That smells fishy to me.”

Bloomberg’s PFWP didn’t have much to say about the new pressure sensors, which apparently are intended to detect how firmly someone is pressing on the screen and then do…well  something very cool and magical as a result.

The PFWP did add “that the company probably would release [the new phones] in the third quarter of next year.” A person familiar not only with plans but probabilities.

iPhone 6 won’t have a curved display

Or maybe it won’t not have one. It’s hard to tell from reading InternationalBusinessTimes.com.

The headline of Kristin Dian Mariano’s post is emphatically assertive: “Analyst Debunks Curved Display On iPhone 6 Release Date”

Yet the post’s first sentence changes that completely: “Apple may not show off a curved display on iPhone 6 release date, according to an analyst.”

The analyst is Avi Greengart, research director for consumer devices at Current Analysis, who is simply making the utterly common sense observation that Apple, like other companies, creates a whole bunch of ideas, tests many of them out, throws most of them out, and finally eventually comes up with improved or new products.

“I have absolutely no doubt whatsoever that Apple is investigating curved displays and any other component coming on to the scenes. That's what Apple does. Apple tests things out internally to see if they make sense,” Greengart is quote in Mariano’s post. “That doesn't mean, however, that just because Apple looked at something that they're going to release it. They probably have watches, glasses, hover boards, and who knows what else just to see what it's like.”

In short, he’s admitting “I have no idea whether they’re planning to have a curved display on iPhone 6.” In Mariano’s skilled hands this becomes “analyst debunks curved display on iPhone 6.”

John Cox covers wireless networking and mobile computing for “Network World.” Twitter: http://twitter.com/johnwcoxnww  Email: john_cox@nww.com

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