According to a new report published today, Apple is looking to release handheld devices with curved displays next year.

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The report comes from the usual bunch of imaginative folks on DigiTimes – a news outlet dedicated to covering the supply side of the semiconductor and electronics industry. They cite industry sources who claim that Apple has bought equipment for production of devices having curved glass displays.

Curved glass displays aren’t very mainstream at the moment; there is only one smartphone that we know of which comes with a curved display (marketed as Contour Display) i.e. that Google Nexus S. Apparently, smartphone manufacturers are looking towards curved touchscreens to gain an edge over Apple but, reportedly, Apple is interested in them too.

From DigiTimes:

Suppliers of the non-Apple camp are working on products with curved cover glass in attempts to gain a competitive edge in the handheld device market dominated by Apple, sources in the glass industry said.

But Apple reportedly also has bought glass polishing equipment for its suppliers in preparation for the production of devices fitted with curved cover glass.

If it turns out to be true, glass supply companies such as Lens Technology, Fuji Crystal and G-Tech will be the ones manufacturing the displays for Apple’s iPhone, iPod touch and iPad products.

There are a couple of interesting advantages that curved touchscreens have over the more conventional flat ones. Firstly, it becomes easier to type as your fingers find curved surfaces to be more comfortable. Secondly, when making calls, curved displays fit more snugly with your face.

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This is not the first time that we are hearing about Apple being interested in curved touchscreens, a report back in May suggested that Apple might be looking into implementing a curved glass screen in the iPhone 5, but all the current reports seemed to have debunked this rumor. The two advantages we mentioned above are, well, advantages but they aren’t very, significant. When was the last time you felt that your phone doesn’t feel right against your face? Never.

I do, however, believe that offering a better typing experience would be a nice plus.

The industry sources claim that these devices will be released sometime in 2012. With all the reports suggesting that the iPhone 5 will be launched next month, we don’t think that the next iPhone will come with the curved displays. For the iPhone 6? Sure, may be. Just not for the iPhone 5.

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