Let's take a stroll back to the year 2000, when we all believed transparent Apple desktops and inflatable furniture were the way of the future. As we have transitioned quite comfortably into the millennium our computers have actually gotten smaller, are not transparent, and there's no inflatable furniture in sight. But those images of a future where fingers don't have to touch screens a la Tom Cruise in Minority Report are still very real. And based off these Apple iPhone rumors about touchless controls, the future may very well be here. But let's be crystal clear: The keyword here is rumors. Nothing has been confirmed yet by Apple Inc. (Bustle has reached out to Apple, but has not yet heard back) and all the rumors floating around the internet are currently unconfirmed.
Now, let's get into the rumors themselves. With the iPhone X we now have the ability to unlock our screen with our face — an upgrade from the thumb identification feature seen in previous models. The ability to not have to touch the screen to unlock it is straight out of a science fiction movie that must have imagined a future without germs. And now, if there's any truth to these new rumors, there could be more where this came from. It all started on Apr. 4 when Bloomberg's Mark Gurman published a report speculating that there could be two new feature upgrades from Apple in future iterations of the beloved device that is the iPhone: An inwardly curved screen, and "touchless gesture controls." But if these rumors are true, we wouldn't be seeing anything in stores right away.
The rumors come eight days after Apple announced their new iPad which includes new app features, with a focus on education to benefit students and teachers. But now the tech giant is seemingly going to propel us — or our phones, rather — further into the future. In Oct. 2017, rumors swirled when a Korean website, The Investor, reported that there were rumors of a foldable iPhone. The next generation of flip phones? I'd be all over that. But now there are new design rumors to address that are equally enticing as a smartflip-phone.
First, the "touchless gesture controls." Could our iPhones have screens that are so technologically advanced we wouldn't have to tap them to make them open Instagram? As Mark Gurman of Bloomberg wrote in his report, "The control feature would let iPhone users perform some tasks by moving their finger close to the screen without actually tapping it." However, Gurman followed up that we wouldn't get our hands on (or off?) this new futuristic feature for a while into the ~future~. It's speculated that this wouldn't happen for at least another two years, if it happened at all.
Another feature could be the ability for the iPhone to curve inward. ManRumors reports that Samsung's smartphones already curve but do so "down and away at the edges of the screen." Every iPhone has used a flat screen. The iPhone X uses an OLED screen that curves slightly but is invisible to the eye. Gurman writes, "OLED, or organic light emitting diode, displays can be shaped into curves or even folded, unlike the less-flexible LCD screen technology used in prior iPhones." This too could be as much as two to three years away. Gurman continues, saying, "Apple is also working on new screen technology, known as MicroLED, but that’s at least three to five years away," as was reported by Bloomberg in March.
These developments have not been confirmed by Apple Inc. and are only rumored to be in the beginning stages of research, if they're happening at all. While we can hope for a future of tapless phones, or foldable smartphones, we can for the moment enjoy our face and thumb recognition features. That's a lot of future to have in 2018. As we know with tech, it's always developing and there will be more jaw dropping advancements that bring the idealized future a little closer to hand.