For the 10th anniversary of the iPhone, Apple is rumored to be preparing, if not a highly innovative design, at least a significantly updated one with a key feature from Samsung: a curved-edge OLED display.
Apple will introduce at least three phones in 2017, according to an Aug. 22 report from the Nikkei Asian Review. A source familiar with Apple's plans said to expect 4.7- and 5.5-inch iPhone 8 models with "flat screens," like the current iPhone, but also a 5.5-inch-or-larger iPhone with "a screen bent on the two sides," like the Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge.
Samsung is currently the only smartphone maker to offer curved and flexible OLED screens. The company has been showing off its flexible display technology since at least 2012, and last year introduced the Galaxy Note Edge and Galaxy 6 Edge, both of which feature curved displays.
Just as Apple catches up, Samsung is expected to take the design further. Bloomberg reported June 6 that, according to unnamed sources, Samsung is working on one phone with a 5-inch screen that can unfold into an 8-inch screen, taking it essentially from a smartphone to a tablet, and another that "folds in half like a cosmetic compact."
According to MacRumors, Samsung is likely to be Apple's primary supplier of the OLED displays. But in anticipation of Samsung being unable to meet Apple's significant demands, Apple manufacturer Foxconn "has been developing glass casings and OLED displays over the past year, in hopes of securing orders from its biggest customer next year."
A rendering by MacRumors shows that a 5.8-inch iPhone display, applied to a design the same height as the current 5.5-inch iPhone, would leave a margin of 7.25mm on either side of the phone, which could wrap around and be used for "side-based gestures and buttons," much like on the Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge.
In addition to the curved display and the switch to OLED—which has been rumored for some time and would provide better power efficiency, faster response times and improved contrast, among other benefits—it's expected that the iPhone 8 will feature wireless charging, a glass body and a faster, 10-nanometer A11 processer, and will do away with the home button.
As the iPhone approaches its 10-year anniversary, Tim Cook this week celebrates five years at the helm.
In August 2011, Steve Jobs, the co-founder of Apple and the company's face and thrust, announced he wouldn't be coming back from his third leave of absence and appointed then-COO Cook to the role of CEO.
"I believe Apple's brightest and most innovative days are ahead of it," Jobs wrote in an Aug. 24, 2011, letter to the Apple board and community. "I look forward to watching and contributing to its success in a new role."
Rarely has any individual so dynamically defined and controlled a company, and Apple's greatest successes at the time have been attributed to Jobs' drive and ability to surround himself with the most talented people, while still trusting his own instincts.
During Cook's leadership, Apple has introduced only one new product, the Apple Watch, of which—while some investors remain disappointed—Apple sold 1.6 million during the second quarter of 2016 and which now controls 47 percent of the wearables market, per July data from IDC.
"Historically, founder-led companies go through existential crises after the founder is gone," Asymco analyst Horace Dediu told CNBC, according to an Aug. 22 report. "The fact that Apple didn't implode, but has grown, means mission accomplished."