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Apple rumoured to release curved-screen iPhone next year

Latest rumours suggest that two new devices will go on sale in 2014 sporting 4.7-inch and 5.5-inch screens

Next year's iPhones are rumoured to include curved screens and improved touch screen technology capable of detecting different levels of pressure.

Unnamed sources speaking to Bloomberg suggest that Apple will be repeating this year’s strategy of releasing two new smartphones, with 2014’s pair reportedly including displays with “glass that curves downwards at the edges”.

It’s not clear if this means that the handsets will resemble curved-screen prototype smartphones produced by Samsung (with the edge of the screen used to display notifications) but it does seem that Apple might be following their rivals’ footsteps in other ways, with Bloomberg's source also reporting that the new smartphones will have larger screens – 4.7 inches and 5.5 inches across on the diagonal.

The larger of these would be the same size as Samsung’s second generation Galaxy Note and .2-inches smaller than the Samsung Galaxy Note III, introduced this September.

Although the trend for phablets (large smartphones with screens between 5 and 6.9-inches in size) was largely derided several years ago, it has proved a substantial area of growth for many of Apple’s rivals.

In the Asian-Pacific region in the second quarter of 2013 more than 25.2 million of the devices were sold, an increase in sales of 620 per cent compared to the same quarter in 2012.

Apple is still facing pressure from investors over a perceived lack of innovation, and although curved-screen smartphones with larger displays would not count as a new product category, they might provide a previously un-tapped market for the company.

LG released their own curved-screen smartphone last month, introducing the 6-inch LG G Flex as a device that will “follow the contour of the face”.

The phone-manufacturers claims that the design “reduces the distance between one's mouth to the microphone when the device is held against the ear” and that the curved screen will improve “viewing immersion”.

Plans for an international release of the G Flex have yet to be announced, and it seems that phone company's are now simply vying for the title of 'most innovative'; introducing what are essentially prototypes to market just to claim the bragging rights of being first.

Samsung's prototype curved-screen smartphone, seen here at CES 2013.