A "spectacular" iPhone 7 may be just what Apple has in the works.
KGI Securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo wrote in a March 25 research note that Apple may overhaul the design of the next iPhone with a curved screen and new display technology.
The so-called iPhone 7 may feature the same "glass sandwich" approach the iPhone 4 and 4s took, but with curved panels on the front and back instead of flat pieces, so thinning the edges.
"We expect the 2017 new iPhone model to adopt a structural design similar to that of [the] iPhone 4/4s, meaning it will be equipped with glass on both the front and back sides, and a metal frame [around] the edges," Kuo said in the note, according to MacRumors and the Independent.
"The difference is that the new model will likely come with a curved screen and curved glass casing, with other important features including a 5.8-inch AMOLED display, wireless charging, and more biometric recognitions (facial or iris)," Kuo continued. "Given the curved design, the new model may look smaller than an existing 5.5-inch iPhone."
Kuo added that the availability of supplies will determine whether Apple introduces a 4.7-inch LCD-based iPhone along with a 5.8-inch AMOLED model, rather than 4.7- and 5.5-inch iPhones, each with an LCD.
Apple began using AMOLED technology last year with its introduction of the Apple Watch. A comment made by Apple design guru Jony Ive in a New Yorker profile fueled speculation that Apple could make a transition. Ive had noted that the contrast levels in the iPhone's LCD felt "old" compared to the look of the AMOLED. But in a November 2015 note, Kuo said that move wasn't happening anytime soon.
Industry veteran Walt Mossberg wrote in a March 23 article entitled "The iPhone 7 Had Better Be Spectacular" that Apple's news iPhones and iPads are very nice but "don't break much new technology ground."
If it is to maintain its lead as "the best smartphone you can buy," Mossberg said, "Apple needs to impress big time in the fall."
One way it could do exactly that, he added, would be to "seriously shrink the large top and bottom bezels on the iPhone."
The curved panels that Kuo describes would do exactly that.
Cult of Mac has described Kuo as "the best Apple analyst on the planet," calling his gift of "prophesy" into Apple plans "unparalleled" -- and noting that Kuo, like Apple, is "incredibly mysterious."
Adding credibility to Kuo's biometric claim is Apple's January purchase of Emotient, a company that uses artificial intelligence to analyze people's faces and expressions.
The technology could be part of Apple's ResearchKit, which includes an app that helps to diagnose autism by studying children's expressions while they watch a video. But it may also contribute to additional security features that Apple is said to be working on.
And while spectacular would certainly be welcome -- and entertaining -- analysts have told Information Week that it's not exactly necessary. What is?
According to Jackdaw Research Chief Analyst Jan Dawson: an iPhone "good enough to prompt people with two-year-old iPhones to upgrade."