Recent reports have indicated that Samsung is to emphasize its curved screen Galaxy S7 Edge when it is released in 2016. Before then Apple will likely release its own curved screen smartphone, with the company having already applied for, and had approved, a patent for such technology.
With rumors circulating that Apple will delay the iPhone 7 until 2016, and release an iPhone 6s and iPhone 6c toward the back end of 2015, no-one is quite sure what to expect from the world’s leading smartphone manufacturer at the moment. So it is quite possible that we will see a curved screen Galaxy S7 before the curved screen iPhone emerges. What does seem certain is that Apple will follow suit and produced a curved screen variant of the iPhone sooner rather than later.
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Samsung Curved Screen Emphasis
Samsung is obviously extremely enamored with the performance of its curved screen devices, as the company has made plans to hugely step up production of the curved screen model of the Galaxy S7 when it hits the stores next year. This seems a sensible decision, as this physical feature of mobile devices which has become something of a trademark for Samsung is extremely voguish at the moment.
With the iPhone 6s and iPhone 6c expected to be upgrades of the existing iPhone 6, it is possible that Apple will delay a curved screen iPhone until the release of the iPhone 7 in 2016. This would be dependent upon the logistical requirements of producing a curved screen smartphone for the first time.
It is worth noting that this was certainly something that Samsung sat on for a certain period of time while its engineers developed the concept, and Apple does have a reputation for holding technology back until it believes that it has been perfected. Apple has never felt any pressure to match the most spec-packed and feature-packed smartphones on the market, instead relying on slick operation, unrivaled design values and packaging, and the uber powerful Apple brand.
So we may not see a curved iPhone for quite some time. The release schedule for the iPhone’s 6s, 6c and iPhone 7 is, of course, not public knowledge yet. Media speculation has indicated that the iPhone 7 may hit the stores between March and June 2016. And this schedule would suggest that the iPhone 6s and 6c will both be released in October 2015, precisely 12 months after the previous iteration in the series.
However, as Apple likes to hold devices back until they are developed to the satisfaction of the corporation, it is possible that the iPhone 7 could even be delayed until September or October 2016. If this is the case then we might have to wait a full 18 months to see the first curved screen iPhone.
But will this delay provide Samsung with a significant advantage in the curved screen marketplace? Unquestionably by this time, the Korean manufacturer would have produced numerous smartphones featuring this design parameter. Samsung has to some extent already mastered the curved screen, as it was its own range of high-end televisions that first popularized this technology. And with the Galaxy Note 5 expected to feature a double-curved display in 2015, and the Galaxy S7 featuring a strong emphasis on curved screen technology, this could represent something of a head start for Samsung.
Apple is likely to begin fairly delicately and cautiously with a curved screen iPhone, and if the market has significantly shifted in favour of curved screen technology by this time then this could be a significant disadvantage for the iPhone series. However, it is worth noting in mitigation that not every consumer actually favours the curved screen design. This is made quite evident by the fact that curved screen mobiles are still relatively niche products even in Samsung’s current range of mobile devices.
Although the technology is arguably better suited to smartphones that televisions – owing to the fact that curved televisions require a straight-on viewing angle which can be inconvenient for groups of people – it seems unlikely that it will become absolutely central to the industry in as little as 18 months. Apple still has plenty of time to catch up with Samsung, even if the Galaxy S7 Edge is as popular with consumers as Samsung is already anticipating.
Apple Supply Chain
What can be said for certain is that Apple has an outstanding reputation for design quality already. In recent years, Samsung has been very much playing catch-up with Apple in terms of the appearance of its mobile devices. In this sense, the Korean corporation will be extremely pleased that it has hit upon such a popular innovation as curved screen technology.
But Apple already has an absolutely outstanding and prolific supply chain in place in order to produced curved screen smartphones when it chooses to do so. It is extremely flexible and nimble in this respect, and can easily respond to market trends as it sees fit. Should the Apple hierarchy decide that it is necessary for Apple to place a significant emphasis on curved screen technology in the iPhone 7, or even before then, the Apple supply chain is certainly extremely well placed to deliver this.
Recent Apple Successes
And one should not underestimate the power of the Apple brand and the momentum and comfort zone that its recent massive successes have handed the company. After a stellar 2014 in which Apple achieved the highest single-quarter profit in recorded business history, became the first corporation to smash the $700 billion barrier for market capitalization, and overtook Samsung at the head of the mobile devices selling list in pure volume, the company must feel to some extent indestructible at the moment.
Of course, this is always an illusion, and many market-leading companies have lost their lustre very rapidly by failing to keep up with industry trends. A notable example is Kodak, which did not satisfactorily anticipate the importance of digital cameras, and went from a leading position in the market to almost liquidating completely.
No-oen should suspect for one second that this will happen to Apple, and all the evidence suggests that it will be able to compete with Samsung in the curved screen marketplace in the medium and long-term.