Sources are suggesting that a next-generation iPhone, possibly the long-awaited iPhone 5, is getting a curved glass screen. This comes after Apple has reportedly purchased 200-300 glass cutting machines for use by suppliers, which will be used for production once further testing is completed. Could this mean a radical change in design is coming?

iPhone 4

The iPhone 5 wouldn’t be the first curved-glass Apple device. In 2009, the maker introduced an iPod nano that has a similar type of screen. Late last year, Google also experimented with curved screens with the Nexus S, the company’s "gold-standard" for Android phones. That said, the iPhone 5 would be the first iPhone with that type of screen.

iPhone 5 rumors have been ongoing over the last few months. Projected enhancements include expected improvements in camera quality and specifications, but a larger 4” screen is also expected. Could Apple be looking into making the screen take up the whole device, essentially eliminating the bezel, while, unlike competitors who made the same move, not significantly increasing the size of the device itself? Should we expect an entirely new form factor?

Suppliers are often reluctant to manufacture curved screens. Not due to user experience concerns, but simple due to the costs of cutting glass. That could explain why Apple has decided to purchase the cutters itself and deliver it to the suppliers. This also shows that whatever this product is, Apple is already making prototypes, if not beginning mass production.

A few weeks ago, we reported that there likely wouldn’t be a major redesign on the next iPhone, which would instead be called iPhone 4S , not iPhone 5. The original report was confirmed by other sources that made clear that the next iPhone would essentially look and act the same as the current iPhone, except for an internal hardware bump and software additions.

This new leak has led many to believe that the next iPhone would indeed be the iPhone 5, but there’s still no evidence of that: Apple is known to develop its products in advance, sometimes years before they see the light of day. This leak in no way disproves the previous rumors that the iPhone 5 has been delayed until next year and that we’ll simply see a slightly improved iPhone 4 in two months, it’s simply evidence of the fact Apple might be developing prototypes for internal use or getting suppliers ready for a possible iPhone with a curved screen.

(via Digitimes)

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