back to article Apple iPhone 5 to sport CRT-style screen

Take with an appropriate quantity of sodium chloride: the iPhone 5 will sport a curved display. So say unnamed industry sources cited by DigiTimes, which also claims that, because makers of screen-covering glass are concerned about the high cost of kit capable of cutting curved glass, Apple has been buying such machines on …


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  1. jonathanb Silver badge

    Curved the other way surely

    Would it not be curved in the same way as the Nexus S, so it wraps round your face better when you use it?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward


      I haven't used a phone with this sort of display, but wouldn't a curved display be more likely to be damaged when the phone is dropped?

      1. Mr Ian

        Hard to say

        Which do you consider is more structurally sound.... flat unsupported beams, or arcs and domes?

  2. rahul

    If it does infact have a curved display...

    ... it will be a conCAVE display, and not a conVEX (eg, like the Nexus S)

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward


      Curves are stronger..

    2. Rich 30


      If I agree, got to be concave.

      Seen on a few phones now, and it does feel a bit nicer in the hand.

      Usually its just the "glass" that is curved, not the screen under it.

    3. scarshapedstar
      Jobs Horns

      Tru dat

      They will also sue Samsung for stealing their patented, innovative curved-screen design.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Jobs Horns

        Sue Samsung...

        I spot a power play... Want to copy someone's Idea? first accuse them of copying you.. release your product copying them, and then agree to call it quits..

        Way to go!

        (first time I have ever used this icon!)

    4. Curtis Crowson

      that makes sense because a convex display

      would be impossible to protect with a case because the screen would stick out from the sides. Of course, a concave display would be stronger and less likely to get dinged in the middle where it wouldn't touch if dropped on its face.

  3. Rob Crawford

    Oh Yes

    I assume things would also be better if the earth was flat

  4. Bilgepipe

    Already Done

    >>> Unless Apple is planning some kind of glasses-free 3D display - maybe it'll work like a lens - adding a curved screen seems a bonkers idea to us.

    Better tell that to the phone manufacturers already producing them, then. The Nexus S has a curved screen.

    1. ThomH


      The phone manufacturer singular already producing them. Let's not take away from Samsung just because Apple are rumoured to have copied their idea.

  5. Mystic Megabyte




  6. Shakermaker

    Curved screen

    It's not that weird. My Google Nexus S has a curved display and it works very well against mirroring light sources when watching video.

  7. Malcolm 1

    I hope not

    I'm highly unlikely to buy any iDevice, but it would sadly appear that most other device manufacturers lack independent thought and will immediately copy said feature.

    1. brain_flakes

      You mean like how Apple are copying Google?

      The Nexus S already has a curved screen, so it would appear that Apple are the ones who are copying.

      1. mrh2

        you don't know they are copying...'s an unsourced rumour being amplified by the online echo chamber. Based on the ratio of iRumours which later come to nothing, chances are this is just BS.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward


        "so it would appear that Apple are the ones who are copying" again.

      3. Jeff Fraser

        And of course the Nexus copied the iPod Nano...

        The old iPod Nano had curved glass back in 2008. Pretty sure this predates the Nexus.

  8. Anonymous Coward
    Paris Hilton

    Built-in telly?

    It'd be incredibly cool if they built a proper CRT into the next iphone. We could have proper built-in telly at last! One thing though, is it going to be PAL or NTSC? Or does the rumour of it being a world-phone mean it'll do both?

    Once again, outstanding reporting el reg!

    1. ravenviz Silver badge

      Re: Built-in telly?

      Already in use on Moonbase Alpha:

    2. A J Stiles


      It most probably will be some proprietary variant of SECAM.

      (Side question: When the UK adopted colour television, we had no need for it to be compatible with existing mono receivers; since our old mono sets used 405 lines and VHF frequencies, and we were moving to a completely new, 625 line system transmitted on UHF frequencies. Why, then, did we adopt PAL -- a luma-chroma system where colour rendition is compromised by the ability to remain compatible with existing mono receivers -- instead of an RGB-based colour system?)

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        625 line and colour

        The introduction 625 line and PAL didn't occur at the same time, 625 line leading by a few years. Beyond that, a non-luminance based system would have added significant cost to the more common B&W sets of the time.

        It would be very different today of course.

      2. oddie



  9. Anonymous Coward
    Jobs Horns

    Think Glasses...

    If true, I guess this is to reduce reflections. Flat glass surfaces always reflect a lit more light than curved ones.

    That's how you can tell when an actor in a Hollywood film is wearing fake glasses.

    So a slightly curved screen may help cut down on reflections caused by artificial light sources.

    I can't see it doing much for sky reflections though, as that's one huge light source :-)

    1. Anonymous Coward

      "Flat glass surfaces...

      "always reflect a lit more light than curved ones."

      Science fail.

      As a pedant: they always reflect more light *in the same direction*, compared to curved ones.

      But it should certainly mean that, done correctly, it would be better for viewing under certain light sources.

      (Sorry, moody Monday morning)

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Thumb Up


        I should have added the "in the same direction".

        Obviously, total reflection will be the same for the same type of material whether curved or flat.

        Good Pedantry my friend!

        1. Brewster's Angle Grinder Silver badge

          Oh Fresnel Equations, my title is too long!

          The percentage of the total incident flux that is reflected really does vary according to curvature. (Hint: some light is transmitted, because glass is, y'know, transparent [to visible frequencies].)

    2. Asgard

      Not reflections or strength

      @“I guess this is to reduce reflections”

      No it won't reduce reflections, it will increase them.

      When a viewer is looking at a curved screen (on a phone) the curvature means the reflections come from a wider field of view (due to the curvature). This means if there is any bright irritating light sources in your field of view, the curved screen will make it harder to avoid these bright reflections on the screen compared with a flat screen. Its why flat screens were better than CRT monitors (and as an old programmer I've suffered the pains of curved screens and of trying to avoid reflections on them). Its why I would much sooner have a flat screen.

      I would bet this curved screen has nothing to do with helping the screen image, or being stronger when curved (try accidentally standing on it and see how long that curved screen (and case?) will last, as then all the force is applied to one central point on the phone glass. A curve is only stronger when load bearing in the air when used as an arch compared with a flat beam. A curve isn't stronger when its on a flat surface as a flat phone dissipates the load over the whole surface whereas a curve is forced to bend in the middle when pushed from above with one point contact in the middle).

      So its not likely stronger or better for viewing. So whats it for? ... I bet the curve is to give Apple users another reason to be smug, because it stands out as an iphone 5, “hey look everyone I'vvveee gooot a neeeewww iphone fiiivee and you can all see its an iphone 5 by its curved screen, as thats the only one with this look!” ... oh joy, I can't wait to be subjected to it. :(

  10. james 68

    um no...

    apple buying glass cutting machines?

    not so likely, glass used in curved screens and lenses is moulded then ground, not so much with the cutting

  11. jubtastic1

    Has anyone mentioned

    The nexus S yet?

    Also, why can't I add the 'getting my coat' icon from the mobile site?

    1. Marvin the Martian


      Because people on the move already don't have to pick up a coat?

      Here, have mine if you're that chilly.

  12. bitmap animal
    Jobs Halo

    Match your bodily curves

    If it's curved then it should fit in your pocket better and not look like you're carrying a brick (albeit a thin brick) in your pocket.

    Perhaps they come with different radius curves to fit different people or body parts

    1. SkippyBing

      No no no

      If the curve of your body doesn't fit the phone you're doing it wrong. Just get a different body, not that big of a deal.

    2. Paul_Murphy

      Of course - the bRA-phone

      'Just the right curve to match yours!' - available from C to J!

      (insert very poor-taste comment about A & B sizes buying the normal flat-screen version.)

      Alternatively maybe Apple are planning a head-phone carrying unit that allows the iPhone to drop down in front of the eyes and show a virtual reality display - think like Geordi LaForges glasses, but about the size of a paperback.


      1. M Gale

        Re: Paul_Murphy

        That is all.

  13. Owen Carter
    Jobs Halo

    Who says it is the screen..

    The Iphone4 has a glass back doesn't it? Maybe it is that they want to curve? maybe even make touch-sensitive and curved?

    Phone manufacturers occasionally play with 'back controls' and they all tout it as the next great thing in user interaction; then quietly drop for the next model since it actually sucks (I have a LG viewty with a 'rear scrolling control' that turned out to be a total waste of space..)

    But maybe Apple have found a way to get it usable and functional.. they are certainly clever and innovative enough to have a real chance at letting the hand holding the phone do more than just thumbpress side buttons.

  14. JaitcH

    Apple emulating car manufacturers - a touch here and another there

    Obviously Jobs mob is getting desperate to maintain repeat sales.

    All they appear to be doing is making slight changes so Iphans can differentiate between new models and clunkers and, Jobs hopes, it will generate yet more sales as Iphans slavishly buy yet more of the same.

    Worked for years for car manufacturers, why not other products?

    1. Prag Fest
      Jobs Horns


      Chap, you forgot the iLemon joke.

  15. Wize

    Maybe they are doing prescription lenses on the phone... you won't need your glasses on to use it.

  16. Anonymous Coward

    CRT screen are convex for a reason

    CRT's have convex curvature due the physics of the internal electron beam emanating from what is essentially a point source, not due to a convex display giving a better viewing experience. It doesn't, which is why over the history of the CRT, considerable R&D effort went onto cheap but complex electron beam steering systems in the CRT tube itself in order to make CRT's as flat as possible. That is why through the 1990's, the flatter the TV screen, the more expensive. The biggest boon towards flat screen CRT's was cheap "fast enough" digital processing in the late 1990's, which allowed correction for pincushion and keystone distortion digitally while using simpler beam steering in the CRT tube itself.

    1. Alan Esworthy

      CRT screen are convex for more than one reason

      CRT screens are convex for strength as well. Don't forget the semi-vacuum inside. Flat CRT screens need to be thicker and are therefor heavier and more expensive to manufacture and transport.

  17. Anonymous Coward
    Jobs Halo

    My cousin's best friend'd bother told me...

    that the curved glass is part of the HUD for the built-in iJet-Pack.

  18. Jim Coleman


    IIRC, the Dell Venue Pro has curved glass too.

    I remember vividly the advertising for the new flat-screen TVs when they first came out many years ago, and how the adverts touted increased viewing angle among the many benefits of ditching the old curved CRT screens.

    If we're going back to curved screens again, on the basis of decreased reflectivity, it makes you wonder if technology really is one of those fashion things which always end up going round in circles like a dog chasing its own tail, or whether the Flat-screen adverts were good at covering up the technology's extra reflections flaw, or whether adverts for curved-screen CRT TVs should have screeched "Flat-Screen! No! Huge reflections!"

    Personally I think it's a fashion thing. Especially if Apple are jumping on the bandwagon.

  19. Anonymous Coward
    Jobs Horns

    Smoke 'em Out

    Ignore this rumour - Apple are simply trying to flush out people in their supply chain who leak future product info. When manufacturing partners are announced, compare the ones who didn't get selected to where the rumours originated from.

  20. Anonymous Coward
    Jobs Horns


    Sounds like one of those made-up things Apple does out occasionally to find out who's leaking information. Watch your backs El Reg!

  21. ThisTimeNextYear
    Jobs Halo

    It's only taken Apple 15 years to copy

    The first and still the best banana phone ala the Nokia 8110 as made famous in the first Matrix movie.

    I can still remember how cool it felt to press a button on the phone and the front extended to expose the keyboard and mould perfectly to my face.

    Well done indeed Apple.

    1. Petef15h

      Close, but no banana

      Sorry to be picky but...............whilst you were correct in saying it was indeed the Nokia 8110 that was featured in the Matrix film, the phone with push button slide was the in fact the 7110. The 8110 had been discontinued by Nokia several years before the Matrix was released. The 7110 was released and marketed alongside the film, leading to the confusion.

  22. Anonymous Coward

    "Curved glass surfaces...

    As a pedant: Assuming the phone chassis remains the same between curved and non curved versions a curved surface will have more total surface area, and therefore reflecting more light *in any direction*, than a flat surface.

    1. Alan Esworthy

      faulty pedant!


      The amount of reflected light is determined by the planar area of the perimeter. If anything, a curved surface will reflect less of the incident light than a flat surface because no material is 100% reflective (not considering quantum materials and events) and so the larger curved surface results in greater loss of incoming light.

  23. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Not that amazing

    The Nexus S, of course, has a curved screen, and it's not unknown for customers who want a large amount of something weird to contribute up-front to the tooling; in fact, Apple has been known to do this before. I'd be sort of surprised if this was true, though; for the Nexus S the curve was really just a gimmick which everyone forgot about, and there's no use being the second company with a weird-shaped screen.

  24. The Fuzzy Wotnot


    "not one of the moles seems capable of saying why Apple would be so generous to its suppliers"

    Well now let me see....

    You have gadget that will shift by the truck-load when it is released, thus leading to the fact that you can charge what the f**k you like for this highly prized piece of kit, because the fans will fall over themselves to buy it, no matter the cost. Apple doesn't do cut price deals, this is the price, take or leave it.

    Which means if Steve decided to buy the entire factory that made these things, not just the machines, he'd still be quids in. What's $30m of machines compared to making $20m per nano-second in world sales when it comes out!

    1. dave 46

      I am guessing

      There is limited supply of the curved screens and Apple has *big* launches (much bigger than the other phones that have used a curved screen).

      Apple could risk supply problems at launch, sign big long term contracts to some firms (which would allow them to commit to the investment needed) or they could give them the machines, I expect with a proviso that Apple owns the machines and they are only to be used for Apple contracts.

      It's a way of controlling the market, ensuring exclusivity and guaranteeing (their own) supply. The normal approach would be to sign commited contracts with suppliers which would ensure they could invest in the machines needed. But whats to stop them selling similar screens to someone else ocne they've satisfied Apple's order?

  25. Anonymous Coward

    Apple invented it

    Apple will of course claim they invented the curved screen and call it some funky name to make the dullards think they did

  26. TheOtherHobbbes

    There's a display?

    Instead of a direct mental interface, complete with queued pleasure jolts, to the Cupertino Hive Mind?

    How jejeune.

  27. Anonymous Coward

    Fitting a CRT screen???

    So the next phone will be 20cm thick, weigh 8kg and the battery will only last 0.0000001 seconds ??

  28. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    I think it all makes perfect sense and is obvious; The iPhone 5 will be made with both flat and curved screens. Apple have, since the success of the Retina Display, been trying to put the "eye" back into iPhone. Having searched patent libraries, current research papers and technology journals for ideas on how to improve the viewing experience on the next generation iPhone, they came accross an article by a Mr. J. Carrott in which he expounds the benefits and virtues of the prescription car windscreen. Apple thave borrowed that idea and applied it to the iPhone. People who wear glasses will be able to have their iPhone 5 built with screens which match their glasses prescription so that they won't need to wear their glasses while using the iPhone 5. Thus they would get a more natural user experience without the hindrance and interference of glasses coming between the iPhone and the user. Hence the new iPhone 5 will be available both with a flat screen for people with good eyesight and with curved prescription screens for people with less than optimal eyesight.

    Naturally purchasers of the new iPhone with the prescription screen won't want to wait for their personalised phone to be made and indeed Apple wouldn't want to leave itself open to accusations of discrimination due to the prescription screen versions not being immediately available on the high street. So with the release of the new eyePhone all iStores will have an instore machine for manufacturing the prescription screen. Thus a potential purchaser will be able to walk into the store hand over their glasses prescription and watch as an eyePhone screen is manufactured to their personal specification and fitted to their new eyePhone, This explains why Apple is buying the machines to manufacture the curved screens, one for each of their stores.

    All fairly obvious when you think about it.

    1. dave 93

      Would that work?

      I don't think you can correct for viewing with a screen overlay, as the distance between the lens and your eye is important. I might be wrong.

      But it was definitely Billy Connolly, not Jasper Carrot with the prescription windscreen gag!

      1. Anonymous Dave
        Thumb Up

        eyePhone Correction

        I stand corrected, thank you to dave 93; It was indeed Billy Connolly with the prescription windscreen and now that you say it all comes back to me.

        Failing eyesight and a failing memory, to cope with now, so it seems... If only there was an App for that... no hope of the eyePhone coming to my rescue either.

        Thank you

    2. rahul


      ... Mr Stephen Fry. That explanation deserves the title of "fry-ism".

  29. John 110

    the pocket crt screen... hardly new!!

  30. Mike Babulic

    Why not a curved BACK?

    It would nestle rather nicely in your palm.

  31. Tony Pott


    As some people have almost suggested, convex screens help the user to handle glare, since reflected light appears as a line (single axis curvature) or a point (two axis curvature). In either case a slight tilt will reveal whatever is under the reflected light.

    There is a joke here about fanbois rapidly rotating their wrists back and forth, the completion of which I leave as a problem for the reader.

  32. Anonymous Coward

    The most important questions are...

    What colour will it be? Will it take over a year to make it white?

  33. Eddy Ito

    Been, done, t-shirt worn out

    LG Exo, albeit a concept phone it had one fine osculating circle.

  34. D. M
    Jobs Horns


    I think it was in Futurama. But think about it, eyePhone is just what iPhone's future "upgrade" plan.

    I'd stay with my old mobile phone.

  35. Tigra 07

    Black version in 2012...

    With the white one available in 2014?

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