Talking tech since 2003

It’s tough to predict tech trends, but OEMs keep trying when they push new kinds of products on consumers. The phablet, for instance, has become one of the more popular device categories recently, and the smartwatch also seems to be getting a big push from manufacturers, whether customers are ready for it or not. Amid these new kinds of devices, tech companies like Samsung and LG also seem to be pushing curved displays—the former betting on more curved gadgets over the next two years, and rumors have been swirling that Apple is testing a curved iPhone.

But today a post on CNET reports that the curved smartphone trend may not show up as quickly as planned. Apparently, Korean analyst Kim Jong-hyun says that the next flagship Samsung smartphone, the Galaxy S5, will lack a curved display, a prediction based on a lack of curved screen manufacturing capabilities:

“The current capacity for flexible panels is not high enough for the Galaxy S5, which will be rolled out early next year. Curved ones will be unveiled late next year as a Galaxy variant rather than as a flagship model.”

The post cites another Korean analyst, John Seo, who similarly predicts that 2014 won’t bring a curved iPhone—despite Apple’s recent curved display patent. Moreover, the post cites low sales for the two curved phones that have launched in Asia, Samsung’s Galaxy Round and LG’s G Flex. In short, it sounds like this trend may die before it actually becomes a trend at all.

So does this mean that there will never be a curved iPhone? I’m going to say…yes. Because even though we had the above-linked reports of Apple testing a curved iPhone, I have my doubts that the company will bother with it. Apple is pretty good at figuring out how to manage its audience and the number of products it releases, especially considering how often it puts out new versions of the iPhone and iPad. While I still think the curved display patent will come to bear in whatever smartwatch Apple releases, a curved iPhone sounds like it would break the gadget’s brand.

For all of its revisions, the device is remarkably similar from generation to generation. Putting out a curved iPhone for no good reason seems like the kind of simple, cosmetic move that Apple wouldn’t make. Samsung and LG? Sure. Those companies are all about gimmicks and imitation. The Galaxy Gear alone is kind of a bizarro device that seems to have no real reason for existing. But I’m going to make my own prediction here and now: no curved iPhone in 2014…and probably not one in 2015 or ever, either. Let’s see if Apple proves me wrong…

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