Here's something you don't see every day: Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) could take a page out of Samsung's playbook.
Over the past decade, there have been no shortage of headlines or prominent examples of the South Korean conglomerate borrowing ideas from Cupertino. Some examples are more blatant than others, but Samsung has indeed lived up to its fast-follower reputation in more ways than one. The somewhat anticlimactic culmination of this trend occurred years ago when Apple won a major $1 billion court victory over Samsung for patent infringement, although the case continues to go through appeals even to this day. CEO Tim Cook has since pulled back on Apple's litigation strategy, recognizing that the patent lawyers are the only real winners.
The iPhone maker might soon be looking to add a feature that Samsung pioneered first.
Rumor has it
IHS analyst Kevin Wang, who also recently suggested that Apple might finally ditch 16 GB iPhones, is now saying that Apple will incorporate a dual-curve OLED display in the 2017 iPhone. The display might wrap around both the left and right edges of the device, much like Samsung's new Galaxy S7 Edge.
Smartphone OEMs first experimented with curved displays in 2013 and 2014, starting with Samsung's Galaxy Round. Samsung has since continued to explore curved displays, which makes sense since Samsung is one of the biggest proponents of OLED displays, which are necessary for curved form factors.
However, the most recent Galaxy S7 Edge has had a mixed reception. While an improvement over the S6 Edge's implementation, it's still questionable how useful a curved display that wraps around the phone really is, particularly since curved models cost more than their non-curved counterparts.
Can Apple execute better than Samsung?
This is an area where Apple's strength in hardware/software integration will come into play. Software ultimately decides how useful the curved portion of the display is.
Samsung has been trying to add new functionalities to its version of Android. The early iterations only allowed users to view certain types of information, and now users can access various types of widgets and shortcuts. Samsung is extremely good at hardware, but less so at software.
Meanwhile, Apple excels at both hardware and software, although it is admittedly weak on the services front. Apple also has a history of innovating new types of intuitive interfaces. If Apple can come up with a better use case for the curved edges on a display for 2017, then the tech titan might just pull it off.
Evan Niu, CFA owns shares of Apple. The Motley Fool owns shares of and recommends Apple. The Motley Fool has the following options: long January 2018 $90 calls on Apple and short January 2018 $95 calls on Apple. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.