Apple Is Testing Several Prototypes for Next Year’s iPhone

November 28, 2016, 6:35 PM UTC
Apple Unveils New Versions Of iPhone 6, Apple TV
SAN FRANCISCO, CA - SEPTEMBER 9: Apple CEO Tim Cook introduces the new iPhone 6s and 6s Plus during a Special Event at Bill Graham Civic Auditorium September 9, 2015 in San Francisco, California. Apple Inc. unveiled latest iterations of its smart phone, forecasted to be the 6S and 6S Plus. The tech giant is also rumored to be planning to announce an update to its Apple TV set-top box. (Photo by Stephen Lam/ Getty Images)
Photograph by Stephen Lam—Getty Images

Apple’s next iPhone could come with a major new feature, according to a report.

Apple is testing an iPhone with organic light-emitting diode (OLED) display technology that could allow for a curved screen, The Wall Street Journal is reporting, citing sources. The report says the OLED model would be in addition to traditional liquid crystal display (LCD) versions that Apple would also release.

Overall, Apple is working on “more than 10” distinct iPhone prototypes, according to the Journal.

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Next year’s iPhone could be a major update over the current model, the iPhone 7. Next year marks the 10th anniversary for the iPhone, and both analysts and market researchers believe Apple wants to offer at least one model that delivers many of the innovations competitors like Samsung have offered for the last few years.

Samsung, for instance, has made a curved OLED-based screen with its Galaxy S “edge” line. The ill-fated Galaxy Note 7 Samsung released this year and subsequently discontinued because some caught fire or exploded also had a curved screen.

Apple (AAPL) has been criticized in the last several months for not offering many of the innovations its competitors have. Those complaints reached a crescendo in September when Apple unveiled an iPhone 7 that looked strikingly similar to last year’s iPhone 6s. It also lacked a headphone port, which elicited intense criticism. Still, the iPhone 7 is among the biggest selling smartphones available.

Next year, though, Apple may want to make a bigger splash.

For more about Apple’s iPhone 7, watch:

Rumors over the last several months indicate that Apple is testing major updates to the iPhone including a curved screen based on OLED technology. It’s believed the curved version would be bigger than the 5.5-inch screen in Apple’s biggest smartphone, the iPhone 7 Plus. The next iPhone could also come without the physical Home button that sits below its screen. Instead, Apple is said to be considering moving the Home button under the screen, which would require users to press the touch display to reach the iPhone software’s home screen or to buy something using the company’s mobile-payment service Apple Pay.

Still, delivering a new iPhone with major changes is no simple task, and that’s likely why Apple is testing so many prototypes. It’s possible that Apple will discard its idea for a curved iPhone screen.

For its part, the notoriously secretive Apple hasn’t said what it’s planning and hasn’t even confirmed it’s working on a new iPhone. However, the company is believed to be planning a new iPhone next year and likely won’t announce it until that time.

Apple did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

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