The basic form of the smartphone hasn't changed in years and that's one reason growth has slowed to single digits in 2016. And yet Samsung, the world's largest smartphone maker, could be about to things up with flexible screens as early as 2017 that would allow large screens to be folded and placed in a pocket. If Samsung can deliver, it could help it return to growth in an ultra-competitive market where margins are razor thin -- while also giving it a huge advantage over its main rival Apple. According to sources speaking to Bloomberg who are familiar with Samsung's plans the company is currently preparing two smartphones for launch in early 2017 -- possible at the Mobile World Congress trade show in February -- which will feature folding displays. One will be a device that will fold in half and is compared to a cosmetic compact, while the other could feature a regular 5-inch screen in smartphone mode which could "unfurl" to an 8-inch screen in tablet mode.
The Apple iPhone 7 Plus is big, but its dual camera is the best we've ever tested. The next iPhone will reportedly feature a curved screen -- and it will not be cheap. According to The Wall Street Journal, one model of Apple's signature smartphone will include a curved OLED display. The model will also costs around $1,000, says the report. The latest version of the device, iPhone 7, starts at $649.
Aside from a curved screen and no home button, Apple's next iPhone may have another big change: a different charging port. The iPhone 7 successor will reportedly include a USB-C port rather than Apple's Lightning connector, according to The Wall Street Journal. The Apple-designed Lightning port has been the standard on the company's smartphones since the iPhone 5 launched in 2012. The change would mark a significant shift for Apple, which has traditionally made its own chargers that aren't compatible with devices from other companies. Other technology firms, like Google, HTC and LG, have all moved towards USB-C in their devices.
Apple hopes to reduce the wait time customers face when they need their iPhones repaired by equipping 400 third party repair centers in 25 countries with the machinery needed to repair cracked screens on the smartphone. It's one of the worst things that can happen to a smartphone owner: you drop the device and the screen cracks. If you own an iPhone, fixing your screen might get a lot easier. According to Reuters, Apple will offer proprietary machines that fix cracked screens to third-party repair centers by the end of this year. Best Buy is among the first retailers to gain access to the technology.
Last fall, Apple introduced 3D Touch, a feature that lets the iPhone 6s and 6s Plus detect light and firm touchscreen presses. You might also remember that event as the last time you gave 3D Touch any thought. You may not use 3D Touch much today, but after iOS 10 arrives this fall, you may wonder how you lived without it. Apple's 3D Touch is a remarkable bit of engineering. A layer of capacitive sensors, snuggled up beneath the phone's LCD display and backlight, detects pressure from screen above.