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iPhone 5 rumor roll-up for the week ending Nov. 11

John Cox | Nov. 14, 2011
The iPhone 5 becomes the smartphone equivalent of the Holy Grail, a repository of the iOSsphere's technological hopes and dreams and, best of all, melodrama. This week: shatterproof OLED display, the curse of the iPhone 4S, cursing Samsung and the January surprise.

The iPhone 5 becomes the smartphone equivalent of the Holy Grail, a repository of the iOSsphere's technological hopes and dreams and, best of all, melodrama. This week: shatterproof OLED display, the curse of the iPhone 4S, cursing Samsung and the January surprise.

Also: Discover how to create your own iPhone 5 rumor in three easy steps.

You read it here second.

"Take one rumor ... six websites ... stir in one unnamed and unconfirmed 'source close to Apple' ... make sure there are no facts to contaminate the mix ... add in a dash of 'I want that!' and you've got the latest, hottest rumor." -- Stupid Apple Rumors

iPhone 5 will have a shatterproof, and big, OLED display

Well, technically it will have a "far more shatter-resistant than the current 'gorilla glass' and LCD design" in the current iPhone 4 and 4S models, according to Mac OS Rumors, which based its posting on "sources familiar with Apple's 2012 Hardware Roadmap."

A document, one suspects, known but to God.

Or the new screen may be "nearly shatterproof." According to the sources, Apple will replace the current design with "a new type of capacitative [sic] touchscreen which incorporates a much tougher, nearly shatterproof outer surface material with an organic LED (OLED) display that is significantly larger than today's 'retina' TFT LCD." The iPhone 5 screen will "still be in the 'retina' [display] range (approximately 300DPI) of pixel density but would increase its size to approximately 4 inches."

The sources claim there are prototypes using various materials for the frame -- aluminum, Titanium, as well as a "thermoplastic carbon fiber material." Apparently they haven't heard about the Liquidmetal rumor. [See "Apple developing amorphous metal alloys for future products"]

So how tough is this new screen? Mac OS Rumors reports that "in Cupertino's testing thus far, [it] has reportedly had a 0% crack rate when dropped from as high as 12 feet onto a concrete or tile surface. When dropped higher, other damage becomes possible but so far in the testing that has been described to Rumors, it seems to take truly unrealistic amounts of force to cause significant damage (beyond mild scratching) to the new display panel itself."

Dropping anything except a hammer from 12 feet onto a concrete floor makes "other damage" possible. [See "When devices just can't break," a 2006 story about how engineers design rugged mobile devices]

There seem to be two approaches to shatter resistance: Make the screen, and presumably the other layered components, stronger; or make it flexible. At least as far back as 2009, Gizmag had a story on work by corporate and academic researchers who created an active matrix display on a flexible, glass-free substrate, so it could actually bend.

 

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