Apple is reportedly working on touchless gesture control and curved screens for future iPhones, as the company seeks to differentiate design in crowded smartphone marketplace.
The control feature would let iPhone users perform some tasks by moving their finger close to the screen without actually tapping it, Bloomberg reports, citing unnmamed sources. However, the technology likely won't be ready for consumers for at least two years.
Apple's latest iPhones have a feature called 3D Touch that responds differently depending on different finger pressures. The new gesture technology would take into account the proximity of a finger to the screen.
Apple is also developing iPhone displays that curve inward gradually from top to bottom, one of the people familiar with the situation said. That's different than the latest Samsung smartphone screens, which curve down at the edges. The iPhone X's OLED screen curves slightly at the bottom.
Apple is also working on new screen technology, known as MicroLED, but that's at least three to five years away.
Apple declined to comment.
To stay ahead or rivals, Apple needs compelling new features and designs. Samsung is already working on a foldable smartphone, while Huawei is seeing increased success in Asia.
Samsung launched a feature called Air Gestures several years ago that lets users accept calls and flip through web pages by waving their hand across the top of the phone. Google's ATAP research group has been working on similar technology through a program known as Project Soli.
Apple's near-term plans include the expansion of the OLED technology to more devices. It will release a second iPhone with that type of screen later this year; a larger model with a 6.5-inch screen, up from the 5.8-inch size in the current iPhone X. The company is also working on an update to the iPhone X's size and a new, lower-cost LCD model.
Apple has been sourcing OLEDs from Samsung Display, but it is expected to add OLEDs made by LG Display in order to ensure enough supplies.