Apple may adopt a key feature from smartphones manufactured by its biggest rival.
Next year's lineup of iPhones could include three different and distinct variants: a "4.7-inch model, another that will be 5.5-inches and a premium handset that will be either 5.5-inches or larger equipped with a screen bent on the two sides," the Nikkei Asian Review reported Tuesday, citing a source familiar with Apple's plans.
The first two phones would sport the traditional flat screen, while the third handset would adopt a curved display similar to the one used by Samsung for its premium phones, such as the Galaxy S7 Edge and the Galaxy Note 7.
Samsung's goal behind its curved phones is to offer wraparound real estate devoted to icons, apps and other content. The S7 Edge has been a hot seller since its introduction in March. With iPhone sales hit by two quarterly declines, Apple needs to jazz up its lineup with more enticing features, which could include a curved display.
The first two phones would come with LCD (liquid crystal display) screens, which Apple has been using for its smartphones. The third would reportedly be the first iPhone to use an OLED (organic light-emitting diode) display, which manufacturers such as Samsung select for premium handsets. OLED displays offer several advantages over LCD screens. They are thinner, lighter and more flexible than LCDs. They're more power efficient, giving you more bang out of a single battery charge. Their colors are more vivid; especially noticeable are blacker blacks.
In a touch of irony, Samsung will be the only supplier of OLED screens to Apple in 2017, according to IHS DisplaySearch, the Nikkei Asian Review reported.
As always, reports such as these must be taken with a grain of salt. In May, though, tech blog site Mobipicker said Apple will unveil three variants of the iPhone, citing information from an anonymous source. However, the source pinned 2016 as the launch year. In July, leaked photos allegedly of new iPhone models pointed to three varieties set for this year: a regular version, a Plus edition and a new Pro option.
Apple did not immediately respond to CNET's request for comment.