The iPhone 8 could have a plastic, curved screen and new sensing technology

One iPhone 8 rumor that we keep hearing about is the possibility of a curved OLED screen, and that rumor has gained new ground today, with a source claiming that Apple has ordered plastic OLED panels from Samsung.

The source, speaking to The Korea Herald, said: “The OLED version of the new iPhone will all be curved as Apple ordered all plastic OLED - not glass - from Samsung Display. Samsung is capable of supplying a little less than 100 million units of curved OLED displays to Apple.”

The implication of the claim seems to be that every OLED model of the iPhone 8 will have a plastic, curved screen, but that not every version of the iPhone 8 will use OLED or be curved. Which would make sense, as Apple possibly wouldn’t want to risk putting a curved screen on every iPhone, in case it doesn’t catch on.

The use of plastic doesn’t mean the screen will necessarily feel like plastic, as Samsung itself uses a plastic substrate for the Galaxy S7 Edge screen, but you wouldn’t know it from using the device.

A sixth sense for phones

The source adds that while the screen will be curved it won’t be foldable, and that, interestingly, “the upcoming iPhone may use new sensing technology, which enables the phone to respond when users touch any side of the device.” But they note that Apple may not adopt this technology.

While the source doesn’t go into any more detail, this sounds a lot like the ‘Sense Touch’ feature that appeared on an HTC concept phone, and could be used by the HTC 11. In HTC’s case it worked by allowing users to swipe or tap the metal frame to take photos, change the volume, and more.

As this is the first we’ve heard of new sensing technology on the iPhone 8 we’d be skeptical of its inclusion, but we’ve heard before that Apple is working on more than ten different iPhone 8 prototypes, so this tech could be included in one of them, and as the 2017 handset will be marking the iPhone’s tenth anniversary Apple is sure to want to make a splash.

James Rogerson

James is a freelance phones, tablets and wearables writer and sub-editor at TechRadar. He has a love for everything ‘smart’, from watches to lights, and can often be found arguing with AI assistants or drowning in the latest apps. James also contributes to, and and has written for T3, Digital Camera World, Clarity Media and others, with work on the web, in print and on TV.