Apple rumor: Screens that let you control your phone without tapping or swiping
Smudgy iPhone screens may be a relic of the past, if reports of Apple testing a "touchless" screen are true.
The company is said to be developing a screen that lets a person control some phone features by hovering their finger over it, rather than tapping and swiping, according to Bloomberg.
The report Wednesday, which cited unnamed "people with knowledge of the matter," said the technology is in its early stages and may never make it to market. Even if it does, the people said, it would not be for at least two years.
Apple did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
The iPhone, like many smartphones, has been criticized in recent years for not breaking new ground. Even Apple's new iPhone X, which introduced new facial recognition technology and a nearly all-screen front, failed to universally impress reviewers. Changing the way that users interact with screens could offer something new on the market depending on how it's implemented.
Samsung has used the sensors in smartphones to give phone users the ability to control their screens without touching them. Users could wave their whole hands over the screen to flip through images in an album, for example. Based on the Wednesday iPhone report, it sounds like Apple is developing screens that could detect someone's finger, rather than the whole hand.
The report also said Apple may be working on curved screens, which other phone makers including Samsung have incorporated into their designs.
Apple's budget for research and development has been ramping up in the past couple of years, topping $3 billion in the last three months of 2017, according to financial filings. As Apple analyst Neil Cybart of Above Avalon pointed out in 2016, Apple rarely spends more than $3 billion on research and development in a full year, even four or five years ago.
The firm is also reportedly working on a completely new type of screen technology, MicroLED, and may also be developing its own chips to replace the Intel components in its personal computers.