The iPhone 15 rumors have given us a good idea of what to expect from Apple's next smartphones – in short, refreshed designs, USB-C ports, better cameras and improved battery lives. But if you're hankering for something more radical, the iPhone 15's successors could bring bezel-free OLED displays, according to new reports.
This rumor was also amplified by the phone leaker Ice Universe on Twitter (below), who suggests that Apple is also aiming to develop a "unibody glass body," while at the same time using a "new type of ultra-strong and strong glass".
BREAKING! Apple is working on a 0-bezel iPhone! Looks like Cook is a fan of mine and he hates bezels as much as I do.According to sources, Apple asked Samsung Display and LG Display to develop OLED screens without bezels at all, completely eliminating bezels and using UPC… pic.twitter.com/mP6QgOeoPwJuly 24, 2023
In theory, then, we could soon finally see the bezel-free iPhone that's been rumored for several years, going back to the iPhone 7 and iPhone 8. Of course, the iPhone's bezels have shrunk considerably since those phones, with the iPhone 15 expected to have the thinnest ones seen so far on an iPhone (apparently measuring just 1.55mm, fact fans).
But these latest rumors suggest that iPhones could soon effectively be glass slabs. albeit not with the curved-edge displays we've seen on the likes of the Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra. That's because, according to The Elec, Apple has turned down Samsung's curved display tech due to the "optical distortion" it can create, alongside its vulnerability to external shocks.
Instead, the challenge for Samsung and LG Display is to create a bezel-free display with the iPhone's traditional flat screen design, which is no mean feat. According to The Elec, this will require some advancements in technologies like under-panel cameras and "thin film encapsulation", plus bending the circuits that currently sit in the iPhone's bezels underneath the display.
In other words, there may be too much to accomplish for the bezel-free design to arrive in time for the iPhone 16, with 2025 looking a more likely timeframe given the challenges involved. Still, if you want a truly futuristic iPhone that makes the iPhone 15 look old hat, it could be worth holding onto your current one for just a little bit longer.
Analysis: Do we really need a bezel-free iPhone?
The iPhone 15 isn't expected to be a radical leap forward for Apple's smartphones – and aside from the addition of the Dynamic Island on the iPhone 15 and 15 Plus, every model in this year's lineup is expected to have the same display as its predecessor.
But this doesn't necessarily mean that a bezel-free iPhone, which has been rumored for several years now, would necessarily be a huge leap forward. Sure, a glass slab would look great out of the box, but wouldn't a phone case benefit from having a small frame around the screen to grip onto?
Then there are all the potential issues around fragility, slipperiness and accidental screen touches. As TechRadar's US Mobile Editor Philip Berne has argued, bezels aren't themselves a major blight on today's phones – as he says, "improvements to the bezel design aren’t worth getting excited over, not unless you’re an engineer".
Still, it's also hard not to yearn for a radical shakeup of the iPhone's design and a glass iPhone would certainly look futuristic (until you put it in a case). So while the iPhone 16 Pro is expected to deliver under-display Face ID and a camera that will finally compete with Samsung for zoom, it sounds like that phone's successor could finally be the one to deliver the long-awaited 'bezel zero' – whether you want it or not.
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Mark is TechRadar's Senior news editor. Having worked in tech journalism for a ludicrous 17 years, Mark is now attempting to break the world record for the number of camera bags hoarded by one person. He was previously Cameras Editor at Trusted Reviews, Acting editor on Stuff.tv, as well as Features editor and Reviews editor on Stuff magazine. As a freelancer, he's contributed to titles including The Sunday Times, FourFourTwo and Arena. And in a former life, he also won The Daily Telegraph's Young Sportswriter of the Year. But that was before he discovered the strange joys of getting up at 4am for a photo shoot in London's Square Mile.