25th May 2018

Curved iPhone Screens, Touchless Gesture, and More


In the last few years, we’ve seen new and unique features emerging for smartphones. Samsung may have been the first to introduce a ‘wraparound’ screen: an element which has stuck around in their latest iteration, the Galaxy S9. Now Apple is apparently working on the development of something called ‘touchless gesture.’

These additions are more than just unique, in many ways, they bring certain smartphone models to premier, flagship levels. They also create a better experience for the user. With larger displays encompassing more space, the viewer can watch videos in high quality and see photos at their biggest and brightest, etc. And perhaps most of all, the changes are due to the competitive nature of the smartphone manufacturing industry.

There’s always fresh news coming out of the tech space regarding the latest cool features. Leaders like Apple, Samsung, and Huawei are constantly competing to create products that stand out against the rest. Now, as full screens and professional-grade cameras become increasingly common across the board, manufacturers looking for individuality must seek out new avenues and angles.

The shape of screens seems to be one such focal point, as does the emergence of technology such as ‘touchless gesture.’ Let’s take a look at these future possibilities and examine what they might mean for us as mobile users.

Curved Screens, Foldable Phones: What’s the Point?

In the past decade, devices have made the move towards becoming flatter. Flat-screen TVs, for instance, are essentially the only television sets you see anymore. As smartphones progressed from flip phones to sliding keyboards to other bizarre shapes, they gradually went the way of becoming a flat, rectangular slab.

Now, Apple has indicated that it may be working on (or at least contemplating) developing a curved screen. Unlike the wraparound look found on some Samsung devices, the iPhone’s curved screen would allegedly curve inward from top to bottom. This concave shape is similar to that of a banana, and may actually be more like the phone shapes of yesteryear.

Is this actually necessary?

There might not be a clear way in which a curved phone is better, but some potential benefits can be observed.

First, a curved phone, in the shape Apple envisions, would fit in a user’s hand more sensibly. Flat devices leave empty space between one’s palm and the phone; a curved phone would fit snugly. This could be safer, too, reducing instances of dropping your device and causing damage. Plus, the curved screen would prevent the whole of the screen from touching a surface at one time. If your curved phone was facing downward, only the top and bottom edges would come in contact with a surface, leaving the central portion suspended. Scratches would be less likely and even a nasty fall could end up damaging less of the phone’s exterior.

Second, a curved phone could have usability advantages. A concave screen could allow for a more ‘immersive’ experience, generating an almost 3D viewpoint. The shape also means quicker access for thumbs and fingers, as they have less distance to travel.

For Apple’s FaceID technology, a curved screen might mean that the camera can more easily access the user’s face from a flat position. Faster unlocking of the device? Could definitely prove beneficial.

Smashed phone

This is what happens if you try to curve your existing iPhone.

What about a phone that can fold? Does Samsung's rumoured progress toward a foldable phone have far more functional purpose than a phone that is simply curved?


The truth is, how this phone is received will depend strongly on what shape a ‘foldable phone’ eventually takes. Will it open side to side like a book? A side-by-side screen concept could have its strong points, including allowing for more multitasking and increased screen size as necessary. One could also argue that this extra screen space is simply excessive.

The camera on such a foldable device could also be noteworthy. Often, the ‘selfie’ lens is of lesser quality than the more high end, rear-facing camera. A foldable phone could render the dual cameras unnecessary, allowing for better selfies. Good news for Instagram fiends!

Do We Need Touchless Gesture?

In addition to the curved phone, Apple is reportedly hard at work developing touchless gesture as well.

This technology would potentially function like a touchscreen, but with some type of increased sensitivity, that means your phone can anticipate your actions before you even touch the screen. This would enable you to interact with your phone from (slightly) farther away, and it could make certain actions easier.

What's the benefit of touchless gesture over standard touchscreen functionality?

Painter using a phone

Will the touch screen no longer require ‘touch’?

This may remain to be seen. While touchless gesture could hasten your phone’s response time, there’s definitely margin for error. Even touch screens don’t always function perfectly, so there may be plenty of kinks to work out as the technology moves forward. Touchless gesture may have a place in gaming via mobile device or it could have practical applications in other smart objects.

Samsung has already shown us what touchless scrolling can be like. Perhaps Apple’s version will take the software even further. 

Despite the rumours, it is possible that Apple’s developments may never come to fruition. In the past, the company has touted certain features that never came to light, despite patents being filed. Remember the solar-powered iPhone?

So while touchless gesture and curved screens are interesting potential features for the future of iPhone, don’t look for them in stores any time soon. Details indicate that it will likely be 2 or more years before these elements are ready for public consumption.

What do you think of these possibilities? Would you prefer a curved phone or one with touchless gesture?

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